Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cindy Sherman' Untitled #255

Feinin's prosthetic body after Cindy Sherman' photograph, "Untitled #255"

For some time I struggled over this work, I was drawn to the orifice which was made from cardboard panels then sewn together. This is a cleaner version, the original gave me a good laugh. Yeh it was to have the likeliness of a prosthetic suit like in the nude life size sex doll ...I am assuming of Cindy Sherman's "Untitled #255"

Cindy Sherman explains
....Sherman places herself in the roles of B-movie actresses. Her photographs show her dressed up in wigs, hats, dresses, clothes unlike her own, playing the roles of characters. While many may mistake these photographs for self-portraits, these photographs only play with elements of self-portraiture and are really something quite different. In each of these photographs, Sherman plays a type -- not an actual person, but a self-fabricated fictional one. There is the archetypal housewife, the prostitute, the woman in distress, the woman in tears, the dancer, the actress, and the malleable, chameleon-like Sherman plays all of these characters.

For a work of art to be considered a portrait, the artist must have intent to portray a specific, actual person. This can be communicated through such techniques as naming a specific person in the title of the work or creating an image in which the physical likeness leads to an emotional individuality unique to a specific person. While these criteria are not the only ways of connoting a portrait, they are just two examples of how Sherman carefully communicates to the viewer that these works are not meant to depict Cindy Sherman the person. By titling each of the photographs "Untitled", as well as numbering them, Sherman depersonalizes the images.

Of cause there were problems with this shoot... I will not go into the detail only if you ask...hmm, but I love it. Remember I am using what I have and completing a work of art everyday. See the earlier Feinin of her in her later career

Star struck like Sherman's stills are composed to give a sense of importance intended as a visual caricature of Americana. If these Feinin self studies are termed conceptual portraits, they are to me by means of the detail. Everything means something in reference to the work, but I rather call them anthropological portraits. They are to demystify our conditioning over conceptual art. The more I can parody, the less I value.

If Cindy Sherman's portraits as she states are not of her persona, then whats the point? I rather have a still photo of the movie star she pretends to be. Artists should be careful who and what they portray. I found this out in the fenin studies that showed my melancholy. it was a depression I had to fight alone, you see it in the work. Art imitates life, one has to be mineful not to end up dead in a Hotel room strangled by a lover conceptualised in their mind and played out as a self portrait many years before.

Yes I understand what you mean, "Being Fucked Over" I rather liked the review by Kim Clune with the term, "Preening" and "life of a starlet", the first Feinin of her says it all. Remember, I am in character, there is no gender, I am just a inanimate sex doll waiting to be fucked.

Hypothetically, if by your window, you notice a man rolling in the garden with a strip of cardboard between his legs, what would you think? And there is something more,..he is naked. These are the issues I face with these studies as they are self portraits photographed by a timer. I have to get in position, I can not see what the camera sees, nor can I guarantee that the camera will focus correctly or actually fire the shot. Further to the complications of holding the piece together when the camera fails, I have to get up and do it over again. I really need proper equipment to execute these feinins. Did you notice the leaves that were tangled in the vagina, and how damaged the "box" was?


Anonymous said...

Perhaps inadvertently, your Feinin study for me is representative of things closer to home, and not related to Cindy Sherman’s exploration of authenticity and realism, or the lack thereof. To mention one association that came to mind, I saw my country's openness (conscious or unwitting)to penetration and not always by beneficial forces.

Anyway, I located Sherman's original "Untitled #255" upon which this Feinin study is based because without the focus of that point of reference, I was spiralling out of control with alternate interpretations.

Kim Clune writing about Sherman's work, says:

"Moving away from reference to realism altogether, Sherman’s woman becomes fully artificial, as does she, each replaced by the same doll. The pornographic and exposed positioning of Untitled #255 (1992) equates the “reality” of sex mags to that of posed plastic. The lack of reality is as exposed as the model itself and yet the demand for such “recreations” of sexual events inspires vigorous capitalist reproduction. This replacement also calls into question the authenticity of the artist’s role in representation, drawing attention to the lack of realism that occurs when objects are selectively chosen for representation. The model looks away from the camera to demonstrate, once again, a denial of the artificial situation."

"Interestingly, using a doll as an unrealistic representation of a human being, although it seems to be a drastic difference of subject/object from the first pictured above, is no different in concept. Sherman brilliantly exposes photographic ”realism” as equally flawed in all."

"Sherman poses herself as if she were a film star and then snaps the shutter. As the photographer, she is the subject capturing what appears to be a realistic depiction of her object, creating a glimpse into the life of a starlet. At the same time, she is standing in as that object, an actress acting the part of an actress. The result is a representational copy of a starlet who has never existed, the perfect simulacra, calling attention to the problematic subject and object, and the assumption of real or historic photographic representation..."

"The question then becomes, who is the protagonist? It could be the actress being portrayed, the artist herself, or the idea of a woman preening in order to present herself a certain way. In essence, all three possibilities require acting and the lines blur as to where one ends and the others begin."

As regards your Feinin study, I'd like to introduce further layers of complexity by imagining what could be inferred by yourself, a male, assuming this female prosthetic but I might be inventing interpretations which you did not intend.

Now please tell me what about the first attempt made you laugh?... and to be truthful I’d always trust melancholy more than I would “happiness”.

Anonymous said...

"Hypothetically, if by your window, you notice a man rolling in the garden with a strip of cardboard between his legs, what would you think? And there is something more,..he is naked."

Yes, I am laughing too. This is very funny.

About the leaves, I did not notice them before. I just gave them and the battered cardboard a closer inspection. More laughter!

"Remember, I am in character, there is no gender..."

I know. I was actually laughing at myself hyperanalysing your work.

About the positioning problem, I've solved this a bit for myself when doing self-portraits. If you are using a digital camera with a LCD display/monitor, you can get a large, lightweight mirror to position behind the camera so that it reflects to you what is on the LCD display. You look at the mirror and position yourself as you want to be photographed. If you are using a tripod then you need to get something to support the mirror and hold it up behind the camera. One of those padded vise-grip tools could be attached to another tripod.


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