The principled tongue-in-cheek selfie icon
A bizarre, slightly menacing face dominates a wholly inoffensive object, a pool float designed to look like a phone. Oops Phone Float is the work of one of the greatest photographers of our time, Cindy Sherman, absolute master of the self-portrait before the smartphone and the selfie could have even been dreamed of.
A keen portrayer of stereotype, deception and perversion, Cindy Sherman interprets universal themes, creating visions that produce alternative flashes of thought. Disturbing clowns and divas against the backdrop of a road at sunset, mannequins, plastic breasts and fake noses: Cindy Sherman's imagery is pop meets Bosch and Surrealism to then jump back to our time, neurotically overstimulated and obsessively self-celebratory of the individual on social media. It was inevitable therefore that an artist like Sherman would, with the help of her iPhone, document an era that adheres to distorted and frenetic rules like ours.
Today that imagery is filtered using photo-correction apps, the antithesis of artistic practice, which serve to make everything look better according to constantly changing canons. Cindy Sherman fiendishly succeeds in utilizing them to create deformations, alienating superimpositions and alterations of reality.
But what is reality? The “duck face” selfies filtered with super-8 film colors? The high-contrast vacation sunset, which turns a landfill into the Caribbean Sea?
Thus @CindySherman, the artist’s Instagram page opened initially just for fun, has become an integral part of her impressive artistic oeuvre and, above all, mirrors a time in which identity, fragmented and deconstructed, is found via provocation and shock tactics.
Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #45, 1979.
Gelatin silver print. Copyright Cindy Sherman
All pool float images courtesy
Third Drawer Down is an ethical design studio brimming with irony and intelligence that has worked with the greatest artists on the planet for the past fifteen years. Cindy Sherman’s image printed on a simple float is the newest addition to their Artist Inflatables Collection, in collaboration with + POOL, the social and environmental nonprofit building a water-filtering swimming pool in New York’s River. A combining of forces between an artist, a brand and nonprofit design that can only widen viewpoints, with the aim of creating a more livable world and forging more genuine relationships.