This survey exhibition, the first of Sherman's work in the UK for almost ten years, brought together over fifty works spanning the artist’s career and included new work shown for the first time. Since the mid-1970s, Sherman has taken photographs of herself, combining the roles of director, photographer and leading actress to create provocative and intriguing images in both black-and-white and colour. Never interested in making self-portraits, she adopts a variety of personas and disguises which explore and expose well-defined images and stereotypes of women in Western society across the ages. The Serpentine exhibition centred on the many ‘characters’ and ‘portraits’ Sherman created over the past three decades. In her newest work, Sherman said that she uses clowns ‘as a trigger for showing the multi-layered emotional depths within a painted smile’.
The Serpentine Gallery and the London Underground commissioned Sherman to make ten large-scale photographs for display on Platform 4 at London’s Gloucester Road Underground Station. This first collaboration between the Serpentine Gallery and London Underground marked a new season of events and initiatives within the London Underground’s Platform for Art programme, as well as the continued expansion of the Serpentine’s Exhibition, Architecture and Education Programmes beyond the gallery.