December 11th, 2019 – March 29th, 2020
MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, Montreal, Canada
1380 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Québec, H3G 1J5
About Face is an exhibition of more than sixty photographs by Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons and Rachel Harrison, three major American artists whose practice is deeply engaged with the history of the representation of women. Works in the exhibition are drawn from the collection of Carol and David Appel, who are prominent collectors of international contemporary art in Canada.
Two representatives from the Pictures Generation, Sherman and Simmons, deconstruct how mass media infiltrates the construction of the female identity. The exhibition features Simmons’ major work Walking Camera (Jimmy the Camera) II (1987), which ironizes the relationship between photography and the representation of the female body.
Also on view is a rare complete set of Sherman’s “Murder Mystery” (1976-2000) series, which includes 17 black and white photographs in which the artist transforms herself into a multitude of characters from novels and puzzles. The exhibition also includes examples from other series including “Untitled Film Stills” (1977–80). – widely regarded as one of the twentieth century’s most important photographic bodies of work –, “Society Portraits” (2008) and “History Portraits” (1988–90), in which the artist embodies a multitude of characters.
Their work is set in dialogue with one of Harrison’s most important photographic projects, Voyage of the Beagle (2007). This work constitutes a photographic journey into the history of sculptural representations of the body – both human and animal – ranging from ancient menhirs to taxidermy deer, to modern-day mannequins. The photographs by Harrison, Sherman and Simmons force us to recognize that the deeper reality is always beyond the face of the image, outside the frame, in the intervening spaces.