From Surrealist selfies to feminist self-portraiture, the ISelf Collection explores identity and the human condition through the central themes of birth, death, sexuality, love, pain and joy. Taking the display of the collection at Whitechapel Gallery as its springboard, this book looks generally at the question of the self in modern and contemporary art, and the ways in which artists are thinking about being and identity as an individual, in relation to others, to society and the wider world.
Examines the work of 16 international modern and contemporary artists whose practices centre on the construction of private worlds or focus on the exposure of hidden facts. The book makes specific reference to Kurt Schwitters, whose seminal work, the “Merzbau”, remains one of the confounding riddles of contemporary art. Including essays by artist and curator, Richard Grayson, specialist in outsider art Roger Cardinal, and Hayward Exhibitions Curator Clare Carolin, “A Secret Service” explores the spaces between psychological compulsion and philosophical expression, and maps the strange and awesome possibilities of the human imagination. Artists featured include: Sophie Calle, Roberto Cuoghi, Henry Darger, Gedewon, Susan Hiller, Tehching Hsieh, Joachim Koester, Kataryzna Josefowicz, Paul Etienne Lincoln, Mark Lombardi, Mike Nelson, Kurt Schwitters, Speculative Archive, Jeffery Vallance and Oskar Voll.