There is no question that we are selfie-obsessed. In a recent Google study, it was reported that there were more than 24 billion selfies posted to Google photos in the past year. And that is just Google photos alone. Imagine, on top of that, all of the pictures shared on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and all of the other photo-sharing media outlets.
Here are 6 artists who harness society’s obsession with selfies as inspiration for their work.
London based artist Gillian Wearing tapped into the possibilities of self-expression in social media before it was invented. Wearing describes her approach to the series, “I was looking at myself as if I was studying someone else. I rediscovered all these images and was trying to decipher who this person was. There is a similarity in my posing and the poses of a lot of young women you now find on Instagram and Twitter, etc.” Her 148 Polaroid self-portraits from 1988-2005 titled My Polaroid Years contemplate the performative nature of the self-portrait as she questions her own identity and self-awareness.
Anna Uddenberg’s sculptures appear in the Berlin Biennial’s 9th edition and use the human body in a mix of humorous and critical observations of our popular culture. Splitting and bending over backwards in front of a mirror reflect the stereotypes and behaviors defined by Instagram selfies and typical digital photography.
In Juno Calypso’s self-portraits, she stages herself in rented honeymoon suites. Tapping into her surroundings, she performs studies of seduction in the modern day. Alone in a pastel heart-shaped bathtub or sitting at the continental breakfast buffet in a shady motel, her purposeful solitude leaves us questioning just how far the modern woman will go to take a selfie.
Jen Davis’s webcam photo series take self-portraiture to another dimension. Davis sets the stage of a Skype video chat, where she poses herself in sexy positions for her cyber friend. Her webcam series explore sexuality and relationships in a social media centric world.
Toronto-born artist and photographer Petra Collins focuses heavily on the female experience and the contemporary woman. Her photographic selfie series began in 2013, demonstrating the ways young women create, curate and display their own imagery.
In Richard Prince’s “New Portraits” series, he collects photographs from Instagram, and leaves a comment on their post, then screenshots it onto the canvas. The subjects range from well-known celebrities like Kate Moss to unknown characters Prince finds on the Internet. The comment threads incorporate emojis and sexual innuendos that reinforce the ways people promote themselves and communicate with each other on Instagram.
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