Performing for the Camera

Tate Modern: Exhibition
18 February – 12 June 2016
The Eyal Ofer Galleries

A colour photograph of woman in a wedding dress appears against a mountain background with a person photobombing in front.

A colour photograph of woman in a wedding dress appears against a mountain background with a person photobombing in front

Serious performance art, portraiture, or just simply posing for the camera? What does it mean to perform for the camera?
Photography has been used to capture performances since its invention – from the stars of the Victorian stage to the art happenings of the 1960s, and today’s trend for selfies.
With over 50 seminal photographers on display, the exhibition explores the relationship between photography and performance, engaging with serious, provocative and sensational topics, as well as humour, improvisation and irony. It shows how photographs have captured performances by important artists including Yves Klein and Yayoi Kusama, and ground-breaking collaborations between photographers, performers and dancers. It looks at how artists including Francesca Woodman, Erwin Wurm and others have used photography as a stage on which to perform, and how figures from Cindy Sherman and Hannah Wilke to Marcel Duchamp and Samuel Fosso have used photography to explore identity.
From marketing and self-promotion, to the investigation of gender and identity, to experiments with the self-portrait, Performing for the Camera brings together over 500 images shown in series, including vintage prints, large scale works, marketing posters and artists working with Instagram. It is a wide-ranging exploration of how performance artists use photography and how photography is in itself a performance.

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