Category: Introducing - Published: 2017-04-26

Self-portrait as the Billy Goat brings together a selection of physical, psychological and imaginary self-portraits by more than a dozen leading international artists this spring.

Central to the ISelf Collection is identity, with particular reference to the human condition. Through painting, sculpture and vintage photography the themes of birth, death, sexuality, love, pain and joy are all rigorously explored.

Many of the works examine the existential dilemma that is inherent to the human nature. Figuration plays a major part, and a majority of the artists represented are women. ISelf Collection was established in 2009 by Maria and Malek Sukkar, and the collection is curated and managed by Anderson O’Day Fine Art.

Discover four key works from the exhibition below:

Pawel Althamer

Pawel Althamer, Self-Portrait as the Billy-Goat, 2011 Glazed ceramic, plastic, metal, resin cast, goat fur, used shoe, painted Styrofoam plinth, 152 x 152 x 154 cm, Courtesy the artist and Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw, Photo: Bartosz Stawiarski

Pawel Althamer, Self-Portrait as the Billy-Goat, 2011, Glazed ceramic, plastic, metal, resin cast, goat fur, used shoe, painted Styrofoam plinth, 152 x 152 x 154 cm, Courtesy the artist and Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw, Photo: Bartosz Stawiarski

The exhibition title is taken from Pawel Althamer’s (b. 1967, Poland) flayed and melancholic self-portrait in the guise of Auguste Rodin’s famous The Thinker (1903), with an additional twist in that he represents himself as a Billy Goat.

André Breton

André Breton, Photomaton, André Breton, C 1929, Unique Photomaton, silver gelatin print, 5.1 x 3.8 cm ©ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2017

André Breton, Photomaton, André Breton, C 1929, Unique Photomaton, silver gelatin print, 5.1 x 3.8 cm, ©ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2017

A series of photo strips by André Breton (1896-1966, France) and his Surrealist colleagues open the first chapter in a series of displays. Taken in 1929, they experimented with a new form of instantaneous self-portraiture, the photobooth. Rather than choosing a straightforward pose, they look sideways or away from the camera, playing with different poses – smoking, thinking or laughing, depicting themselves as complex and multi-faceted individuals.

Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois, Untitled, 1947-49, Bronze painted white and blue, stainless steel 173.4 x 30.5 x 30.5 cm ©The Easton Foundation/VAGA, New York/ DACS, London 2017

Louise Bourgeois, Untitled, 1947-49, Bronze painted white and blue, stainless steel, 173.4 x 30.5 x 30.5 cm, ©The Easton Foundation/VAGA, New York/ DACS, London 2017

Tracing the psychology of the artist and the role of mother, daughter, wife and lover was at the forefront of Louise Bourgeois’ (1911 – 2010, France) work.

Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman, Untitled, No. 507, 1977/2011, Black and white photograph, 22.2 x 17.5 cm, Courtesy the artist, Metro Pictures and Sprüth Magers

Cindy Sherman, Untitled, No. 507, 1977/2011, Black and white photograph, 22.2 x 17.5 cm, Courtesy the artist, Metro Pictures and Sprüth Magers

By staging their own portraits the artists in this display examine the mechanisms that we use to present ourselves to the world. In her Untitled (1977/2010) photographs, Cindy Sherman (b.1954, USA) stages her appearance through a curtain call where she poses as four different actors.

The exhibition also includes work by: Enrico DavidTracey EminGilbert & GeorgeGabriel KuriYayoi Kusama, LinderAditya MandayamRaqs Media Collective, and Prem Sahib .

Visit Iself Collection: Self-Portrait as the Billy Goat the Whitechapel Gallery, Gallery 7 from 27 April – 20 August 2017.


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