If you were to purchase work from Cindy Sherman‘s new show, someone would apparently come to your home and fit the piece to your room. Her photographic prints fill the whole wall.
They are, in other words, wallpaper and their decorative potential is exaggerated by toile patterning in the background. This puts one in mind of elegant French upholstery or ceramics and I’m told the stuff is like catnip to women of a certain age and social bracket.
So far, so tasteful, but then come giant colour photographs of the artist dressed in a range of outré costumes. We have a circus performer, a seeming inhabitant of Middle Earth, a woman in a nude-woman body suit, and five more who are no less strange for being relatively mundane.
You could hardly say these figures blend in, although there is a ninth incarnation of Sherman who does just that. This one floats gaily through the landscape, rendered in toile-esque black and white.
She looks as if she would be very much at home in someone’s nice home. And by contrast the others look like they come from another planet. It would be like having a permanent stranger in the room.
So despite their resemblance to interior design, these murals do seem emphatic that Sherman’s art is no mere decoration. And its relationship with fashion, while indisputable, is filled with unease.
There’s a great interview with Cindy Sherman in today’s Guardian and a brief but illuminating Q&A with gallery director Andreas Gegner at Dazed Digital.
Show runs until 19 February. See gallery website for more details.
This is not what you expect to see when you look in a mirror. Yet all visual art is surely a reflection of the artist and, if it resonates, the viewer.
Mohamed Bourouissa works with young adults from beyond the periphique in Paris, les banlieues. And despite showing life in a culturally excluded zone, this photo does resonate.
Here you can apparently see a gang meeting. Certainly it is not a meeting you would want to interrupt with a polite enquiry as to the agenda. If nothing else, the wall of backs will keep you out.
So the viewer is excluded, just as those present here might find it difficult to access a gallery private view. Such breezy soirees may be no less an expression of power and menace as the pow-wows which take place on rooftop car parks.
The perfect double image in the pool of rainwater seems to be making a point.
This scene is also a dramatisation, an enactment staged for the camera. These youths have agreed to take part in a work of art, just as the viewer has agreed to engage with it. So the mirror is also closer than you might think.
This photo is taken from the series Les Périphéries and can be seen as part of New Ways of Looking at the former Co-operative Department Store, Brighton, until 14 November 2010. For more details please see the website of Brighton Photo Biennial.