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Cindy Sherman Analysis

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Cindy Sherman was born on January 19th 1954, and is an American photographer who uses her portraits as social commentary- particularly on female stereotypes. She created her famous ‘Film Stills’ work in 1977 and developed and progressed through her works since then. Throughout my art project, I have been mimicking her self portrait style when creating my photographs styled as ‘Rapunzel.’

‘Untitled’- 2004
For this portrait, Cindy Sherman has gone with her usual style of styling herself to unrecognizable lengths. She is wearing a bright rainbow wig and typical ‘clown’ makeup. But what is notable about this photograph is that she is wearing a neck brace, and what could possibly be a hospital gown, clearly hinting that this clown has had an accident. This leads on to the message behind this portrait, the way that clowns are generally depicted as jolly, funny characters as the bright, almost garish, colours suggest… But behind his bright, humorous exterior is something darker, something broken. He is a funny character, but he’s suffering. I think that the social commentary this picture gets across is about the cruelty in humans, and how we laugh at others pain, disability and even make others suffer for our own amusement- the way that Cindy is directly addressing the audience is as if she is speaking to us through this clown’s miserable eyes. Why would we find such a bizarre and twisted figure humorous when the more I look at him, the more terrifying his reality becomes?

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