Cindy Sherman on stage

Hors Les Murs From 30.10.2021 to 06.03.2022

Cindy Sherman. Untitled Film Still #22. 1978 © 2021 Cindy Sherman, courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Espace Louis Vuitton Beijing
China World Mall South Zone W. Bldg. 1 Jianguomenwai Ave.
T. +86 216 1332 856
Open everyday From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Espace Louis Vuitton Beijing proudly invites you to discover the oeuvre of iconic American artist Cindy Sherman. The works selected for this show all belong to the Collection and are presented here within the framework of the Fondation Louis Vuitton “Hors-les-murs” programme. Carrying out the Fondation’s mission to make its activites available to a broader international public, this programme unfolds at the Espaces Louis Vuitton in Tokyo, Munich, Venice, Beijing, Seoul and Osaka.

A mysterious icon, Cindy Sherman undergoes a metamorphosis with each of her masked portraits. She might portray herself as a young Hollywood cinema star (Untitled Film Stills, 1977-1980; Rear Screen Projections,1980), a historical figure in the work of an old master (History Portraits, 1989-1990), a clown (Clown, 2003-2004), or a man (Men, 2019-2020). Often turning her eyes to the viewer as she poses for her camera, Sherman invites us to join her in a quest for her identity. In a cross between reality and fantasy, her portraits interweave free expression and dreams, developing over the course of her career from the beauty and timelessness of black-and-white to the vibrancy of colour. From the beginning, she established a protocol that still remains unchanged today: she turns the camera on herself, showcasing her talents as an actress, costume designer, model, technician, lighting engineer, special effects coordinator, props person, photo retoucher and all-around artist. 

Sherman constructs her own characters, deeply entrenched in one of her principal sources of inspiration: cinematographic aesthetics. Her diverse works explore a number of themes, including the cult of celebrity that so intrigued Warhol and the self-representation modes specific to the world of fashion (Balenciaga, 2007-2008). She also questions female and male archetypes–particularly through transvestism, social identity, and the redefinition of the self. Besides the cinema, a number of sources–art history, fantasy literature, transgender culture and her own imagination–enable her to deconstruct the diverse faces of femininity.

In her most recent developments (Men), she creates new works using her own filtered Instagram selfies, eventually executing virtual tapestries of her portraits (Tapestries, 2020). In this new step, the artist sacrifices her own appearance to show opposition for the generally accepted tyranny of an ideal image. Her works take on a political dimension questioning personal and collective memory, offering a vision based on gender fluidity. She often brings politics into the picture through offbeat humour, poking fun at her own serious appearance and continually blurring the lines between truth and deception. Nothing is static in Sherman’s vast human comedy, and the viewer plays a fundamental role, much as in the works of Duchamp.

Cindy Sherman. Untitled # 602, 2019

Collection Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris. Courtesy of the Artist and Metro Pictures, New York © 2020 Cindy Sherman

Her exhaustive, multi-faceted art has been fascinating viewers since the beginning of her career in the 1970s. The symbolic depth of her images, the diversity of her registers, her inscrutability, and the private, self-reliant nature of her production all contribute to her success. Sherman’s photographic approach stakes its claim in both the 20th and 21st centuries as the art of involving the viewer’s participation. This exhibition pays tribute to a career that spans over five decades, presenting a various selection from her first series to the most recent photo portraits and tapestry, never shown before in China.

The artist

Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman was born in 1954 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, and lives and works in New York. Considered one of the most influential artists of her generation, she came to prominence in the late 1970s with a group of artists known as the Pictures Generation.

Her 2012 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, traveled to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Dallas Museum of Art. Additional recent exhibitions include Fosun Foundation, Shanghai; the inaugural exhibition at the Broad Museum, Los Angeles; Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia; and Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo.

Sherman has participated in four Venice Biennales, co-curating a section at the 55th exhibition in 2013. Additionally, her work has been included in five iterations of the Whitney Biennial, two Biennales of Sydney, and the 1983 Documenta. She is the recipient of the 2020 Wolf Prize in Arts and has also been awarded the Praemium Imperiale, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.