Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Review of Reflections on the Self: From Dürer to Struth at Christie’s Mayfair

Reflections on the Self: From Dürer to Struth
Christie’s Mayfair, London
2 June – 5 September 2015

Artists since time immemorial have painted self-portraits: at times because models’ fees were beyond their meagre means; at times because they found themselves in isolation; at times simply because no one knows anyone as well as he knows himself and such intimate knowledge permits exploration and honesty, the freedom to experiment, and fulfils the desire to express.

For its sixth exhibition, Christie’s Mayfair, the auction house’s dedicated exhibition space, brings together more than 50 artists and 70 works showing the diversity of media, formats and styles used by artists to reflect their selves, from Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) to Thomas Struth (b1954). A rare 15th-century woodcut by the former, The Bathhouse (c1496-97), depicts the artist leaning on a wooden support, a tap comically positioned where his genitals should be, wistfully watching the other men as they bathe. A photograph by Struth, Alte Pinakothek, Self-Portrait Munich (2000), from his Museum Portraits series, looks over the artist’s shoulder at the well-known later self-portrait by Dürer (1500). The exhibition as a whole is framed by this one work.

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