Celebrating Contemporary: Cindy Sherman's Untitled #408

  • 5 September 2011

Our Celebrating Contemporary spotlight turns on the work of American photographer Cindy Sherman...

Untitled #408, Cindy Sherman, 2002 © Cindy Sherman

Untitled #408, Cindy Sherman, 2002

Our Celebrating Contemporary spotlight turns on the provocative art of American photographer and director Cindy Sherman.

The work

Untitled #408 was bought by the National Galleries of Scotland in 2004 with assistance from the Art Fund and the Patrons of the National Galleries of Scotland. One of Sherman's trademark conceptual photographs, Untitled #408 is a caricature drawn from the American suburbs, suggesting the pretensions and delusions of its subject.

The photograph is part of a group of images made between 2000 and 2002 in which Sherman eschewed her earlier, cinematic style in favour of a return to more traditional ideas of portraiture. It is now on display at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. 

The artist

 A master of appearances, Sherman employs wigs, prosthetics, make-up and costumes to transform herself into the range of subjects seen in her photographs. Through her work she combines the roles of director, photographer and leading actress, exploring the creation and performance of identity.

Many of her pieces deal with archetypal images of women, from 1950s Hollywood stereotypes through to the stock characters of suburban American life. 

Did you know?

Sherman's career as a photographer took off with her series of 'film stills' from movies that never existed, which she produced in 1977–1980. She returned to film in 1997 when she directed her first movie, the satirical horror Office Killer. 

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