Untitled 1980

Cindy Sherman, Untitled, 1980; Promised Gift of Steven Scott, Baltimore

Cindy Sherman, Untitled, 1980; Promised Gift of Steven Scott, Baltimore

This untitled work is part of Cindy Sherman’s first series of color photographs, often referred to as the “Rear Screen Projections.” 

In this series, which followed closely on the heels of her landmark “Untitled Film Stills” (1977–80), Sherman photographed herself against a screen on which she projected various interior and exterior settings. After shooting on location so often for the “Untitled Film Stills,” Sherman wanted to remain in the studio while still appearing to be in a variety of places.

Typical of other photographs in the series, this picture features Sherman costumed in clothing and wig vaguely reminiscent of the 1970s or early 1980s. She poses in dramatic raking light and appears closely cropped in the foreground, her bright sweater contrasting sharply with the blurred background. As in her earlier work, Sherman here explores the nature of identity and the role of women. But she does so here using a larger format and embodying types that seem a bit more confident or self-assured than their predecessors. 

This series also makes clear reference to the rear projections used in 1950s movies that were set in exotic locales but filmed more inexpensively on Hollywood sound stages. (To Catch a Thief [1955], starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, is just one of many examples.)