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Cindy Sherman at Sprüth Magers London

DSC_0018  Boris’s Bikes

On a cold January day I arrived at the equally cold venue, Spruth Magers in London’s plush Grafton’s Street for Cindy Sherman’s new show. I am surprised by Sherman’s new exhibition. In this series the frames have been abandoned, and the images are displayed as gigantic photographic murals that cover the gallery walls. They are astonishing to look at, especially from outside - her images are strikingly visible when looking in from the street. The building’s historic character and the photograph’s illustrative background make the exhibition appear like a frozen scene in a play.

The genre and the period are highly important to these pieces. She has dressed herself up in the weirdest of costumes. In one picture she poses in a pair of modern trainers, dressed in a circus outfit. In another she is a medieval warrior, and in a third a gardening housewife. Each of these photographs tell a new story, and raises questions about gender, identify and the passing of time.

It is hard to detect Sherman’s own personality in the work. She typically transforms herself, and there are no doubts these characters and their strategically chosen pieces of clothing signify a distinct type of persona. As usual in Sherman’s work, the images are ‘untitled’. We are therefore obligated to create our own narrative in association to the characters she presents.

The sharp contrast between the photographs and the backgrounds - which hint at Hogarth’s etchings and their plot driven content - adds to the mystery of the show. Using this presentation Sherman manages to put what is signified into the hands of the viewer.

Sherman has certainly created an exhibition room I didn’t expect, but then, what is to expect? Her images ‘wallpapered’ over the whole gallery; or the uninviting nature of this venue? In here entrance is only granted via the buzzer ‘veto’ system. Whatever it is that Sherman is trying to communicate it is expressed mainly to the exclusive few; particularly if the venue and my fellow visitors are any indication of this.

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