1954 Glen Ridge, New Jersey
The film and photo artist Cindy Sherman was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, on January 19, 1954. She studied painting and photography in Buffalo and in New York beginning in 1972. For her first large series of photos, "Untitled Film Stills" (1977-80), Sherman placed herself in female roles borrowed from Hollywood films, TV series and B-movies. While doing so, she did not relate specifically to one certain film, but rather traced the clichés that are created by picture media. The pictures seem strangely familiar, although they did not come from any known movie and provoke in the observer a critical look at the images of women conveyed by the media.
After this black/white series, Sherman turned to color photography (for example, "Rare-Screen-Productions" and "Centerfolds"). In these years, she was also active in the fashion industry; however, she satirized the aesthetic of fashion photography there.
At this time, Sherman took her place as one of the most important modern feminist art photographers. In 1982 she exhibited her works at "documenta 7" in Kassel and at the Biennale in Venice.
In the middle of the 1980s, Sherman grappled with the aesthetic of ugliness and posed acts of violence, monsters, putrefaction and death. Her large-sized "Disgust Pictures" show horrifying scenes with rats, vomit, pus, mold and corpses.
Beginning in 1988, the "History Portraits" were created. Sherman reconstructed historical portraits by old masters with fleamarket props and costumes. By means of conscious distortions however, she prevents the observer from clearly organizing them and thus causes irritation.
In the following series "Sex Pictures", Sherman no longer posed herself, but instead arranged mannequins, prostheses, dummies and erotic paraphernalia into disturbing pictures that reflect critically on todays voyeuristic dealings with physicalness and sexuality.
In 1997 she made her first movie (Office Killer), a bizarre thriller about an office worker who murders and drapes the corpses in her living room. In 1999, she worked once again with the "Surrogates", this time with the theme of fixed images. Cindy Sherman lives in New York.