The Fondation Louis Vuitton presents the exhibition “Cindy Sherman at the Fondation Louis Vuitton” from 23/09/2020 to 03/01/2021. On this occasion, we met Suzanne Pagé, artistic director of the Foundation and general curator of the exhibition.
The Fondation Louis Vuitton hosts the first exhibition dedicated to Cindy Sherman in Paris since her 2006 solo exhibition. As an artist, she has collaborated with various designers. How do you explain her interest in fashion?
We imagine Cindy locked up in her studio because she does everything by herself. We believe that she is not aware of what is going on in the world. But she is an extremely committed person, who knows the art world very well and remains very attentive to societal problems. She is therefore extremely concerned by the concerns of many people, especially fashion. She is very aware of this, while being “against it, all against it”. She uses fashion and clothing to create characters, not at all like a “fashionista”.
Today, through the manipulation of Instagram images, ideal beauty is everywhere. She is completely against this ideal. The designers became interested in her and lent her clothes, with tremendous generosity, giving her the freedom to do what she wanted with them. She used fashion, but never thought of serving it. That is the last thing on her mind.
Would you say she is inspired by fashion?
Fashion inspires her each time a new trait of societal psychology. She was one of the first to anticipate the passage of gender, not only in relation to women, but also in relation to current events, the floating identity… She has always transformed herself into a man, as well as a woman. And the last series, which had never been shown before, is entirely convincing because it is all about men. Men who do not assert a clear masculinity in a vertical way. Their masculinity is floating, very human, by the way.
Cindy Sherman’s technique has evolved over time. How does it relate to current representations, especially after the emergence of social networks?
What is admirable is the wonderful formal evolution she has undergone from her small black and white photos to Instagram, through the adoption of colour or photoshop. She adopts each new technical solution extremely quickly to create increasingly striking images in terms of form. The latest one (her recently unveiled tapestries) is still a provocation for the mind and the eye. She transforms a totally immaterial image, which she obtains on Instagram, into tapestry, an extremely classic and traditional medium.
Cindy’s work has everything to do with painting. She works a lot on the framing, the lights, the colours, and imposes an extraordinary presence. The exhibition route is punctuated with mirrors. I found myself looking at myself in the mirror, feeling much less present than her images. This is all his formal work. There is what the image represents, but also the work on the image which is remarkable.