Cindy Sherman | Sprüth Magers
“Get away from me dear, I don’t need you anymore!” So said silent screen queen Norma Talmadge to a hopeful autograph seeker, just after she made it to the A-list. Well, according to Hollywood apochrypa anyway. The 20s movie grande dame is the latest visual inspiration from iconic shape-shifting photographer Cindy Sherman, whose new work in this show at Sprüth Magers is just as funny, off-kilter and subversive as ever.
Her uncanny chameleonic qualities are just as strong as ever. The original selfie queen - actually, that’s an insult, more like selfie goddess - Sherman’s been trying on one persona after the other for decades. One surreal ‘group shot’ at this show, featuring four Shermans, hair lacquered and pouting with pussy-bow lips, posing against a lake, really made me double take. Only the freckled shoulders, and a little expression around the eyes, made me realise these four women are all the same person.
The exagerrated moues, over the top dresses and furs, and brutally pencilled-in eyebrows show that Sherman is going for camp laughs this time around. Her Instagram is similarly playful these days - and is extra-funny for her recent crusade against other users impersonating her and inviting others to pose for a photoshoot. I hope nobody fell for it, considering, as she angrily pointed out, “I don’t even work with models!”
According to the show notes, this new work is created through “dye stabilisation”, meaning there is no need for any protective glass on the photographs. The surface is still glossy and shiny, though. So you can’t really see much up close. And, then again, Sherman’s haughty gaze(s) aren’t exactly welcoming. Get away from me, dear!
Cindy Sherman is at Sprüth Magers (London). 5 June - 1 September 2018.