2 November 2010

Assessment task: Visual analysis October 2010

Contextual Studies
Assessment task: Visual analysis
Comparing Hans Bellmer La Poupe and Cindy Sherman Untitled Film Still

Cindy Sherman created a number of ‘untitled film stills’ for which there was no actual film. Most of these images were black and white, and featured herself as the model in many classic Hollywood movie situations. She began using mannequins in her work later on, as this piece is from 1993. She used the female mannequin to show and often exaggerate our obsession with self image, which I feel she has done well in this picture.

Both artists have used the female form in their artwork, but strangely enough they have decided not to use an actual person for a model, but to use mannequins. I think this says a lot because it shows how we treat our bodies, as women.. Mannequins are lifeless yet they are made to be shaped and manipulated into whatever people want them to be, they will wear whatever the window dresser in shops decides, they will sit in positions that they are shaped to sit in etc. I think it’s making a link to the way women are portrayed in society that they care too much about what other people think of them.

This is especially shown in Cindy Sherman’s work as the face of the female is heavily made-up and her hair has been styled. The artist has made a point of the object being a doll by leaving the artificial joins of the shoulders, elbows etc visible. The mannequin appears to be wearing no clothes, and there is an empty chamber in her chest revealing another heavily made up dolls face. I feel this represents how much women change the way they portray themselves, and often lock away deep inside who they really are and show something entirely different.

Hans Bellmer’s work shows the same sort of points by deliberately showing the joins of the model, and he has even gone one step further and the woman is not wearing any clothes at all, other than shoes and socks, which personally remind me of the types of small shoes that you found on dolls made over ten years ago. He has also decided not to include a face. This is a running theme throughout a lot of his work, I think it says the same sort of things that Sherman’s work does, as her face is wearing heavy makeup, covering her natural self, and this mannequin has no face at all, showing that we maybe just like showing our bodies off and would rather not show our face at all.
Both artworks contain specific elements of manmade things, for example in Sherman’s work there is a ‘set’ behind her, almost like the dressing for a window, with lights and heavy shadowing, whereas Bellmers work is set in a natural environment, a forest, however a human is present behind a tree in the background, perhaps and onlooker representing the Nazis or the general population, as he actually created these dolls the oppose the fascism of the Nazi party at the time. Bellmer’s work was eventually classed Degenerate by the Nazi party and he had to flee Germany for France.
Words: 535

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