Nienke Klunder

LONDON, 4 July — Like Nikki S. Lee and Cindy Sherman, Nienke Klunder uses transformations of her appearance and self portraiture to explore identity. Klunder creates her images not in the street like Lee, but in her own studio, like Sherman.

What fascinates me so much about this work, besides it’s general impulse to explore identity, is that Klunder seems to be a “First Life Avatar.” In the sequence shown here and lots of other images on her website we see her engaging in changes of “skin,” “hair,” “shirt” and so on. You could say that everyone does this. But I think there’s a slight nuance to it: “normal” people try to find clothes and looks to express who they are (or think they are.) Avatars do the same, but I think with avatars it’s a bit more using experiments with clothing, looks, bodies, to discover who you might choose to be.

From Klunder’s bio:

Known for her striking photographic portraits and thought provoking series and sequences, she has a multi-disciplinary approach to her work in producing sculptures, drawings and installations of both her solo and collaborative projects. Working mainly in sequences and series, she often uses self-portraiture to explore themes of identity and transformation. Her series are visual essays that are in turn comic, tragic, sexual and political. Moving between the roles of photographer and subject, her work has the effect of a series of cinematic stills with each image containing a larger story.


click on an image to enter “slide show” mode, then use arrow keys to step through Klunder’s identity progressions

As a virtual public artist my work invites avatar communities to express their identity, explore their culture, and demand their civil rights.

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