Sara Stridsberg wrote in an introduction on the work of Cindy Sherman: “Is it possible to describe human beings without destroying them, without capturing them, betraying them and locking them up? Is it not like that, that by describing people, we make them to strangers which avoid, despise and hurt each other?” 

I got myself a card of the library of upper Austria again and borrowed the book “untitled horrors” of Cindy Sherman immediately after registration. It reveals significant insights on what our human condition is in relation to the outside world, as well as on the categories constructed by our brains. Before leaving the library hall, I noticed an Afghan youngster hammering the keyboards of several library research computers. Then he calmed down again and collected books like any student would do. The silence was broken five minutes later when he turned looking for all the cuddly bears in the child department while turning the CD-player enabling people to choose music they want to borrow full volume. There was no way in speaking with this person, and I was upset about him ruining the smooth atmosphere in the building. There are boundaries on tolerable behavior in public space, although I don´t like to admit it. Eventually the police came and he was escorted out, which surprisingly happened in a very collaborative manner. 

It is a story worth telling, while borders, more specifically the transformation from the normal to the abnormal and vice versa, is the main theme of Cindy´s work. Her photographs are fascinating, while she succeeds to make us balance on the edge of a frightening anomaly and a reassuring recognization. Especially the essay “der Schweinemensch” of Karl Ove Knausgard, page 162 in the book, is very insightful. He compares Cindy´s work with that of August Sanders. The places Cindy evokes are filled with aggression and tics, with whimpering and twisted bodies, whereas August Sanders, by his subjects, describes middle-class reality.

These Palermo portraits, although not this stringent as the portraits of August, are very much in the middle of ordinary life as well.