Self-portraiture has provided a source of inspiration to artists across time, and in recent years many artists have challenged and expanded the genre by incorporating action, performance and narrative.
Encompassing a range of media including film, photography and sculpture, In My Shoes offers an impressive survey of these dynamic contemporary approaches, presenting major works from the Arts Council Collection alongside key loans from other UK collections.
The exhibition reflects the widespread interest in self-expression that extends beyond the confines of the art world. The rise of the ‘selfie’ in contemporary culture and the construction of digital identities through social media provide a pertinent cultural context.
This exhibition offers a timely opportunity to consider the legacies of the so-called ‘Young British Artists’, who received international attention for their confrontational and often self-referential works. Major works from this period are represented, including a selection of Sarah Lucas’ iconic and assertive photographic self-portraits from 1990-1998 and Tracey Emin’s The Simple Truth (1993), an early blanket piece featuring the appliquéd words ‘Tracey Emin Here To Stay.’ Stitched defiantly by Emin in her hotel room on an early trip to the US, the work is a physical expression of the artist’s intention to establish herself in an overcrowded art world.
In My Shoes also includes recent acquisitions into the Arts Council Collection that represent the latest developments in self-representation, including Rachel Maclean, who uses digital media, costumes and prosthetics to play every role in her film, Feed Me (2015), a compelling and fantastical story of contemporary excess.