To the casual eye, the three accompanying pictures appear to be portraits of women at various stages of life, both personally and historically. Upon closer examination, however, the person sitting for all three portraits is the same: Cindy Sherman. Since the mid 1970’s, Sherman’s exquisitely arranged photographic portraits have been an intriguing and jolting presence in the art world.  Currently, the artist is the subject of a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which calls her one of our most important and influential contemporary artists. Her photographs, it might be worth noting, are some of the most expensive ever sold. As we have reliable birth data on Sherman, let’s take a look at the chart and see if we can get a clue as to how and why she has chosen this unique path of expression.

Seeing that we’ve been looking at temperament a great deal lately, let’s do a quick workup of Sherman’s to get a grasp of her basic fabric.

 

Sanguine

Choleric

Melancholic

Phlegmatic

Birth Season

   

X

 

Asc Sign

 

X

   

Asc Ruler

X

     

Moon Sign

 

X

   

Moon Phase

   

X

 

Sign Moon Ruler

   

X

 
         

Totals

1

2

3

 

We have predominately melancholic with some choleric, which leads us to a character who is extremely dry. That emphasis, along with the absence of moisture in the chart, suggests someone who may, on some level, be very impersonal, which is consistent with a woman who has observed about her art:

“I feel I’m anonymous in my work. When I look at the pictures, I never see myself; they aren’t self-portraits. Sometimes I disappear.”

So the question is: how does Cindy Sherman disappear. Since her art is so specifically based on her projection to the world, we’ll start with the ascendant, which I have marked with a triangle. Why the ascendant? Because the sign on the ascendant and the planet that rules it symbolizes how we show ourselves to the world, of how we interact with it. With Sagittarius on the ascendant, we can generally expect a dramatic, expansive projection. What’s interesting here is that Jupiter, the planet ruling Sagittarius, is in Gemini in the 7th house – the house of OTHER PEOPLE. As a general description, we can easily and confidently say that Ms. Sherman seeks herself – or maybe, seeks to both express and discover herself  – through others, through the projection of herself into the roles of others.

As Jupiter is the planet, we can assume that Sherman will do this in a large, dramatic fashion (all Jupiter words). Because it’s in Gemini, we can infer that there will be a certain amount of duality (Gemini=duality). Consider this quote from her:

“I’m really just using the mirror to summon something I don’t even know until I see it.”

With the astrological descriptions in mind,  go back and look at her photographs. She is not herself; she is other (Gemini). They are dramatic (Jupiter) projections (ascendant). Where does temperament fit into this? The photographs are dry to the extreme. There is really no hint of emotionality; the images invite us to project an emotion, a story, a clue, but they give us very little. Finally, the photographs are remarkable for their attention to detail, a melancholic trait. There are no ironic references or placements to give away the fact that these are not real people, but projections of Cindy Sherman.

“We’re all products of what we want to project to the world. Even people who don’t spend any time, or think they don’t, on preparing themselves for the world out there – I think that ultimately they have for their whole lives groomed themselves to be a certain way, to present a face to the world.”