The recipe never changes, yet the outcome is always different. Since the mid-1970s, Cindy Sherman has been staging herself, not to speak about herself through self-portraits but to examine the place of women in society and its representation.
Cindy Sherman (b. 1957), Untitled #74 (Rear Screen Projections series), 1980, chromogenic colour print, 40.6 x 61 cm, Barbara & Richard S. Lane.
Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York © 2020 Cindy Sherman
This Paris retrospective bringing together 170 pieces spanning the years 1975 to 2020 from 37 French and international lenders allows us to take the full measure of her work. It starts with the famous Untitled Film Stills (1977-1980) and Rear Screen Projections (1980) introducing 18 series in chronological order that go from black and white to colour and from medium to large formats. Skilfully structured into semicircular niches, the vast space designed by Frank Gehry proves appropriate for the parade of characters. This, combined with the choice to cover the walls in saturated colours, keeps visitors from getting weary and allows for the element of surprise. The highlight is the Murals installation (2010), an impressive wallpaper stretching out over the entire height of the Louis Vuitton Foundation's picture rails: like Lilliputians, we face giants. When Ms. Sherman is not unsettling us with her disturbing characters in Fairy Tales, History Portraits, Masks and Clowns, she manages to surprise us, especially with her latest, heretofore unseen series in which she appears as a man (Men, 2019-2020). Throughout the journey, mirrors reflect our own image: a beautiful bit of staging that produces its own effect.