Visual comparison of Cindy Sherman’s ‘Untitled 424’ and Marlene Dumas’ ‘Supermodel’
A clown’s identity is unimportant, they are anonymous. However despite their performance are they really as psychotically happy as them seem? Bruce Charlie Johnson a clown expert said ‘they can contain exaggerated traits in their personalities, one he wishes he had and ones he has observed in others’ Cindy Sherman has always been fascinated with dressing up, disguise and borrowed identities. She has always refused to allow anyone else be one of her models. In an interview for the Tate magazine with Betsy Berne she said: ‘Once I paid an assistant. But even when I was paying somebody, I still wanted to rush through and get them out of the studio. I felt like I was imposing on them. Also, I got the feeling that they were having fun, to a certain extent, thinking this was like Halloween, or playing dress-up. I also realised that I myself don't know exactly what I want from a picture, so it's hard to articulate that to somebody else - anybody else. When I'm doing it myself, I'm really just using the mirror to summon something I don't even know until I see it.’ Despite using herself in her work she claims ‘ I don’t do self portraits, infact I try to get as far away from myself as possible, it could be in doing this though that I create a self portrait’
The fear of the traditional clown’s makeup is widely recognized. Coulrophobia, the fear of clowns comes from the Greek word koulon (limb) and related derivatives suggest stilts and stilt-walking, eg: the Greek kolobathristes means ‘one who goes on stilts’. However not all clowns walk on stilts, and most sufferers seem to agree that it is what is hidden underneath the heavy makeup and the costume that they fear the most. In ‘Untitled 424’ the exaggeration of the long painted teeth of the clown ‘suggests vampirism’, the sunken eyes adds depth to the photograph. There is this sense of underlying sadness about the clown despite...
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