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The critical power of self-portrait

In the selfie era, the staged self-portrait functions as political activism.



The fact that artists create portraits of themselves has long traditions in art history. We all know Munch's famous Self portrait with cigarette (1895) and van Gogh's self-portrait without ear, but also abstract artists such as Jackson Pollock, known for his action paintings, has painted self portraits. Self-portrait is also a crucial part of American photographer Robert Mapplethorpes at times controversial artwork which deals with sexuality, eroticism, gender and identity. And it's hard to think of staged, photographic self-portraits without the images of the actual queen of genre Cindy Sherman showing up on the retina. Her first project Untitled Film Stills (1977 – 80), based on Hollywood's portrayal of the woman, went straight into that era's debate on gender and identity, stereotypes and the role of women.

Screen Shot at 2016 06-15-14.53.08Today, we can all construct our identity by staging our lives through the images we share – or choose not to share – on different social platforms. The term Selfie became a buzzword in 2012, but to produce images where we stage ourselves. . .

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