Friday, January 23, 2009

Gisele as Cindy Sherman

I am always struck by the ambiguous nature of "fine" art in relation to "commercial" art -- they seem to so seamlessly overlap and borrow from each other that it becomes unclear what "art" really is. Some might argue that the difference is the intention (perhaps that "real art" isn't trying to sell anything). But, isn't all art selling something, even if it is just the artist him/herself or the ideology behind the art? Pondering these questions always leads me to find interesting connections between fashion photography and "fine" art. I love the juxtaposition, and while it rarely provides me answers, it definitely provokes a reaction. Any thoughts on this, dears?

These photos of Gisele Bundchen are so intriguing to me -- the mood, lighting and setting seem more important than the clothes themselves. Gisele is not Gisele, but a character.

But even more interesting is that they seem to be influenced by (or an homage to) contemporary artist Cindy Sherman's early 'film stills' series from the late 70's and her fashion series from the 80's.

Sherman borrowed her ideas from B-movies, foreign films, and Hollywood movies. But Sherman uses these influences to create photos that explore her own identity (or the notion of identity itself).

The photos of Gisele are more stylized versions of Sherman's, and they can never escape the connection with the model they feature...or can they?

I always find myself falling for (or what I personally find beautiful). What I mean is, I find myself equally compelled by the fashion images and the fine art images.

But, the truth is, all art is derivative in some respects. Sherman borrows from film, fashion photographers borrow from Sherman...

The one major difference is that Sherman's work sells for millions at auctions today.

Sherman's photographs themselves are a commodity, whereas the clothing in the fashion photos are the commodity. And the model, too, I suppose. After all, Gisele is certainly worth millions.

I'm not really sure what I'm getting at here... I guess I am just interested in the way that images work and how they relate to our idea of "art." Maybe art is, as we've suspected all along, merely subjective?

Notions of "high" art and "fine" art seem outmoded and irrelevant. Where does that leave us?

[POP S/S 2004
Gisele Bundchen


cable_zombie said...

Does trying to sell something make it any less innovative or inspired? At the end of the day aren't most artists deep down, hoping to sell something? It's the only way to make a career out of it for sure, so you're either selling the pieces or something in the one better than the other?

Ace images, wicked subject, I'm now stuck with about 2 million thoughts :)

Emily said...

In the top right photo Gisele looks a little like Faye Dunaway or Marisa Berenson in the 70s. I had no idea she could have such a versatile face! I like it when fashion shoots borrow from art. I think a certain concept or mood or time period, a "story," makes the clothes more interesting and appealing.

michiko said...

It's always interesting to think about the difference and the relation between commercial art and fine art, especially with photography, because they are so close to each other. Even though I think no one can give a perfect answer. I think may be, in art we are required not to look for 'an answer' but to study things from different dimesions to understand the whole.
the photos are great, thanks for this post!

kayleigh said...

very nice pics

Bradford said...

not sure where it leaves us, but you might find the current exhibit at ICP (in NYC) of interest. it explores this very issue/theme...there are a few shermans hanging as well.

E.K. said...

What an amazing post! Love the blog!