In the new works on view, the artist collages parts of her own face to construct the identities of various characters, using digital manipulation to accent the layered aspects and plasticity of the self.
Sherman’s ground-breaking photographs have interrogated themes around representation and identity in contemporary media for over four decades. Since the early 2000s, Sherman has constructed personae with digital manipulation, capturing the fractured sense of self in modern society—a concern the artist has uniquely encapsulated from the outset of her career.
In the new body of work, Sherman has removed any scenic backdrops or mise-en-scène—the focus of this series is the face. She combines a digital collaging technique using black and white and colour photographs with other traditional modes of transformation, such as make-up, wigs and costumery, to create a series of unsettling characters who laugh, twist, squint and grimace in front of the camera. To create the fractured characters, Sherman has photographed isolated parts of her body—her eyes, nose, lips, skin, hair, ears—which she cuts, pastes and stretches onto a foundational image, ultimately constructing, deconstructing and then reconstructing a new face.
In the double role of both photographer and model, Sherman upends the usual dynamic between artist and subject. Here, the sitter does not technically exist—all portraits are comprised of composites of the artist’s face—however, they still read as classical portraiture and, despite the layers, the image still gives a true impression of the ‘sitter’.