Domesticity and Female Self-Portraiture in Contemporary Finnish Photography: Elina Brotherus, Aino Kannisto and Iiu Susiraja on the Footsteps of Cindy Sherman
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Domestic themes, environments and objects can be seen in many female photographers’ works, including self-portraits. While domesticity and the private sphere of home have been associated with femininity, feminists have been working to challenge these stereotypes. In contemporary art it makes domesticity an interesting concept, a sphere in which femininity and feminism collide. Cindy Sherman has observed different stereotypes in society through many of her series, the most remarkable body of work being the Untitled Film Stills (1977-1980).
Sherman’s works create a baseline from which to examine female self-portraiture in Finland, focusing on three Finnish female artists: Aino Kannisto, Elina Brotherus and Iiu Susiraja. While they all have the ‘Sherman-esque’ elements in their work and domestic settings, spaces and objects are in an important role in their works, they all have different ways of using them. Kannisto’s style is cinematic, drawing inspiration from films, Brotherus has executed both autobiographical and non-autobiographical series, her inspiration being art history. Susiraja uses domestic objects in provocative, often absurd performances. As their works can be read from a feminist viewpoint, they are sharing the same position of combining feminine and feminist as Sherman in her work. Being based on visual analysis, this thesis is aiming to research how female artists are representing domesticity in various forms in their photographs and examine Sherman’s paradigm’s effects on them.