Cindy Sherman is an American photographer and filmmaker whose self-portraits offer critiques of gender and identity. What made Sherman famous is the use of her own body in roles or personas in her work, with her seminal series Untitled Film Stills (1977–1980) being particularly important. These black-and-white photographs feature the artist herself as a model in various costumes and poses, and are her portrayals of female stereotypes found in film, television, and advertising.
Like Barbara Kruger, Sherman examines and distorts femininity as a social construct.“ I like making images that from a distance seem kind of seductive, colourful, luscious and engaging, and then you realise what you're looking at is something totally opposite,” she reflected.
She established her reputation—and a novel brand of uncanny self-portraiture—with her “Untitled Film Stills” (1977-80), a series of 69 photographs of the artist herself enacting female clichés of 20th-century pop culture. She has continued to explore women as subject matter, often donning elaborate disguises in large-scale colour photographs. Her practice is sometimes grouped with the Pictures Generation, alongside artists such as Sherrie Levine and Robert Longo.
Sherman had a major retrospective, solo exhibition at the National Portrait gallery in London which showed the development of her work from the mid-1970s to the present day, and features around 150 works from international public and private collections as well as new work never before displayed in a public gallery.