Cindy Sherman and multi-identity: reflections on a community shattered by schizophrenia or transcend


Author: Nikita Kosmin 



Cindy Sherman, Untitled #85, 1981, Chromogenic colour print, 62,5 x 126 cm. 


Cindy Sherman explores the idea that identity is both fluid and fragmented. One way that she does this is by transforming herself into characters in staged photographs. 


Her ability to transform herself reflects our culture's shifting ideas about identity which have developed alongside advances in technology and media. 


As we become more adept at creating digital personas for ourselves on social media platforms like Facebook, many increasingly feel empowered to create their own identities through self-expression on the internet. Consequently, many people today can identify as more than one gender, sexual orientation, race, etc.


Here’s a nuance: when talking about multi-identity within Cindy Sherman's artworks there are two forms: fragmentation and transformation. 


Fragmentation occurs when the artist intentionally splices together various parts of different images to evoke something new. There’s almost a schizophreniс quality to it, one person’s split personality disorder: masks of a good wife, a fighter, employee of the month replace one another. 


Transformation happens when a single image is manipulated so much that it no longer resembles its original state; instead it becomes something entirely new. Maybe instead of shatteredness what we’re actually looking at is evolution, each transformation a new version of a higher state of being?

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