Ideas of selfhood, from Descartes' theory of 'I think therefore I am' to postmodern notions of the fragmented and de-centred self, have been crucial to the visual arts. Gen Doy explores this relationship, primarily in relation to contemporary art but also going back to the early modern period and Holbein's Ambassadors. She argues that the importance of subjectivity for art goes far beyond self-portraits, exploring the self and identity - both the artist's and the viewer's - and seeks a way of thinking the self that goes beyond both Cartesian and postmodern approaches to subjecthood. She looks too at work and consumption; self-presentation; photography and the theatre of the self; the marginalised - beggars and asylum seekers - and 'the real me'. A wide range of artists, including Claude Cahun, Tracey Emin, Jeff Wall, Barbara Kruger, Eugene Palmer and Karen Knorr are discussed, as well as historical material from earlier periods, in this illuminating book.
Picturing the Self
Changing Views of the Subject in Visual Culture