Cindy Sherman (1954). . the perfect selfie

 

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It wasn’t to difficult to find a good portrait of Cindy Sherman on Google, because every picture by Cindy Sherman features …Cindy Sherman. So before the craze of the selfie photography , Sherman already made “perfect” selfies, every time staged in a different setting.

She has become world famous with these photographs and had in the Netherlands on several occasions exhibitions, including the retrospective in the Boymans van Beuningen, which catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com

One exception is that at one time in her career she wasn’t present in het photographs. In 1992 Sherman embarked on a series of photographs now referred to as “Sex Pictures.” For the first time, Sherman is entirely absent from these photographs. Instead, she again uses dolls and prosthetic body parts, this time posed in highly sexual poses. Prosthetic genitalia – both male and female – are used often and photographed in extreme close-up. Photographed exclusively in color, these photographs are meant to shock. Sherman continued to work on these photographs for some time and continued to experiment with the use of dolls and other replacements for what had previously been herself.

 

When i looked closely at these photographs i found a great resemblance with the POUPEE photographs by Hans Bellmer. I might be wrong, but because of this resemblance i find this series much less interesting than the photographs with Sherman in them.

 

 

Hans Bellmer ( 1902 -1975)

Hans Bellmer poster
Hans Bellmer poster 

Is Bellmer a dadaist or a surrealist painter?

A discussion which is held for decades now, but to me he is more  a surrealist artist than a Dada one.

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Born in Poland, but living most of his life in Paris he led a secluded life and died a lonely man in 1975. After his dead the appreciation for his art began. Books were published, exhibitions held and his works were sold all over the world, but during his lifetime he was not that well known, nor popular because of his chosen subjects.

Finally in the last decade of his life he was considered one of the leading surrealist artist from his time and specially the photo series on the doll/ “La poupée”  he made received international praise. His main theme in practically all of his works is an erotic approach to his subjects. Fetishism, voyeurism and sado masochism can frequently be found in his subjects, but the erotic content is not easily discovered. In most cases you have to study the composition of the work to distinguish the erotic parts within.

Finally in 1959 and 1964 he received some recognition by being invited for the Documenta in Kassel.

From 1953 Bellmer lived together with the writer Unica Zürn . A sad relationship , lonely , without any social activities, living in a secluded way in hotel de l’Esperance in Paris. Unica threw herself out of the window in 1970 and Bellmer died a lonely man in 1975. A sad life of a great artist . If you do not know anything about Bellmer start with Wikipedia and learn something about him and begin to discover the surreal world he has created.There are some great titles at www.ftn-books.com to be found on this fascinating artist.