Self: Image and Identity

Group Exhibition. Turner Contemporary, Kent, United Kingdom.

24 January 2015 – 10 May 2015

Photographed by Stephen White, courtesy of Turner Contemporary

Damien Hirst, 'Contemplating a Self-Portrait as a Pharmacist' (1998) © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd., All rights reserved, DACS 2015

'Self: Image and Identity' examines the role of self-portraiture and how has it has shifted through the history of art to the present day.

In this new exhibition, Turner Contemporary becomes a frame through which self-portraiture is re-evaluated in the 21st century, sparking conversations on history, celebrity, collecting, gender, mortality and contemporary approaches. Artists have been recreating their own image for centuries. From self-advertisement and preserving legacy, to figurative studies, political commentary and biographical exploration self-representation, has shaped Western art.

The exhibition takes as its start point Sir Anthony van Dyck's last 'Self-portrait' of 1640-1, recently saved for the nation. Over 100 works, including Hirst's vitrine piece 'Contemplating a Self-Portrait as a Pharmacist' (1998) many of which are from the National Portrait Gallery London, are brought together for an expansive look at the artists’ self. 

Alongside Hirst, featured artists include: Sir Anthony van Dyck, Mary Beale, Louise Bourgeois, John Constable, Tracey Emin, Jason Evans, Lucian Freud, Antony Gormley, David Hockney, Angelica Kauffmann, Sarah Lucas, Gillian Wearing, Yinka Shonibare MBE, JMW Turner and Andy Warhol.