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Lot 423 | Cindy Sherman | Untitled Film Still #39

80.000 - 120.000 €
129.000 €

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Auction results from: Cindy Sherman
1954 Glen Ridge/New Jersey

Title: Untitled Film Still #39.
Date: 1979.
Technique: Gelatin silver print laid down on Kapa board.
Depiction Size: 89 x 70cm.
Sheet Size: 102 x 76cm.
Notation: Signed, dated and numbered.
Number: 1/3.
Frame: Framed.

- Christie's, New York, auction 21.11.1996, lot 284

- Kulturhuset Stockholm 2004
- me Collectors Room Berlin 2015/2016
- Museum Jorn, Silkeborg 2017
- Weserburg Museum für Moderne Kunst, Bremen 2018/2019

- Stiftung Olbricht (ed.): Cindy Sherman - Works from the Olbricht Collection, Berlin 2015, ill. p. 5
- Museum Jorn (ed.): Cindy Sherman, Silkeborg 2017, ill. w/o p. (Untitled film stills), p. 135 with ill.
- cf. Danto, Arthur C.: Untitled Film Stills - Cindy Sherman, Munich 1990, no. 26
- cf. Krauss, Rosalind/Bryson, Norman (eds.): Cindy Sherman 1975-1993, New York 1993, p. 56
- cf. Frankel, David (ed.): Cindy Sherman - The Complete Untitled Film Stills, New York 2003, p. 115

The American Cindy Sherman is one of the most famous artists in the world. Her path there began in the late 1970s with her series of photographs entitled "Untitled Film Stills". This series of works represents one of the most important series in the artist's career, but also in art history per se. Sherman slips into various socially anchored female role patterns and makes an important contribution to feminist discourse and the debate on female identity.

Sherman does not use suggestive titles, but numbers her works. Thus the photograph #39 presented here is taken from this famous series. An open door allows us to look into a small bathroom, where an attractive young woman can be seen in profile in front of the washbasin. She is only lightly dressed with a shirt, has her hands on her belly and looks down on her body. What is going on inside her, we ask ourselves. Does she show signs of pregnancy or illness? This seemingly insignificant, since so everyday representation unfolds in a suspenseful way thanks to a clever staging. One would like to know what has happened before and how it will continue, because it is a look that we know from films and which suggests a story. In this series of works Sherman plays with our viewing habits, which are influenced by film and advertising. For the experienced film viewer, suspense is built up in this quiet scene, which draws the viewer into the picture and arouses curiosity. The title of the series underlines this by alluding to a "film still", although it is a photograph staged with great attention to detail. The size of the work also emphasizes the filmic aspect and contrasts with the intimate ambience. The black and white of the photograph also places what is to be seen in a different time and is also reminiscent of cinema - of a film noir à la Hitchcock.

The artist always portrays herself in her works, embodying different female stereotypes. She thus becomes an object that is viewed. At the same time, however, she is also the subject, as she herself chooses the role portrayed in order to perform it in her own unique way for the photograph. In this way she thematizes the male gaze and regains self-determination on behalf of women. For in the long tradition of art history - continued by film, television and advertising - women are always staged as objects for the male gaze. Sherman skilfully takes up these roles and re-stages, exaggerates or caricatures them. In this way she subversively recodes the image of women and leads it into a new era.

Martina Janke
Modern, Post War & Contemporary Art
+49 221 92 58 62 306

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29.00 % buyer’s premium on the hammer price