On January the 10th 2013, in the very heart of Florence, just next to Palazzo Vecchio, the Museo Gucci inaugurated, in its contemporary art space, the exhibition of Cindy Sherman, American photographer. The exhibition called “Cindy Sherman: Early Works” was planned by Francois Pinault, CEO of the French PPR, the company of luxurious brands including Gucci. The curator, Francesca Amfitheatrof, focused on the first part of Cindy Sherman’s artistic output as the cornerstone of her on-going reflection on common female social roles and identities. Through a camera focused on the artist herself, we face an array of self-portraits in various styles and consumerist backgrounds.
The exhibition, here in Florence, presents three series of Sherman’s work centred on exasperate multiple identities, playing a myriad of roles and clichés. Thirty photos all sharing the artist’s consummate skill of manipulating space and scale.
In “Murder Mystery People”, dating back to 1976, Ms Sherman tells, staged like a movie, the story of an actress of the Thirties falling in love with her director.
With “Bus Riders” the visitor is confronted by different characters waiting at a bus stop. “Doll Clothes” of 1975 focuses on the performer, Cindy herself, acting as a girl continuously trying on dresses. The sequence is interrupted by a gigantic hand while seizing the silhouette and pushing it into a plastic bag. The symbolic relationship between society and woman is approached by the artist with an urgent, singularly personal vision . For the women, whose connotations affect all of us, she employs arrays of costumes, wigs, props and sometimes prosthetic body parts, making of photography a provocative and aggressive tool of communication. She looks like” an increasingly vehement avenging angel waging a kind of war with the camera, using it to expose what might be called both the tyranny and the inner lives of images” as says Roberta Smith in the issue of New York Times of February the 23rd 2012.
The present event in Florence mirrors the contemporary rediscovery of this artist, now in her late fifties. In the past year, from February to June, New York, the city which has adopted her, set up a great retrospective exhibition of Cindy Sherman at the Moma, featuring 170 shots of her career from the mid-seventies to the present.
The Moderna Museet of Stockolm and the Fearnley Museum of Oslo in a few weeks will follow the New York experience, organizing an exhibition of this pioneer of photography as artistic form.
A wide appreciation of the uniqueness of her work in creating multiple identities without using stylists, lighting designers or make-up techniques.
Just the boundless imagination of her eccentric spirit who succeeds only by his body and his face to stage joys and nightmares of society in masterpieces of artificiality, steering clear of photoshop.
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