It might have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary only in 2013, but the “selfie” has always been an important form of expression in art history.
From Rembrandt to Frida Kahlo, the often-derided self-portrait has had endless creative potential, which has now found its perfect medium in the very mundane smartphone.
An exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery, entitled “From Selfie to Self-Expression”, explores our relationship with the selfie, looking at its history and the differences with the past art masters.
In what is probably a world first, Van Gogh and David Beckham, Picasso and Kim Kardashian coexist in the same gallery space.
While smartphones epitomise the selfie as a form of communication for everyone, Stanley Kubrick and George Harrison were already experimenting with taking pictures of themselves.
Saatchi Gallery Chief Executive Nigel Hurst told Reuters that modern-day selfies are different because they show “how we would like the world to see us, rather than how we are and who we are.”
“It’s no coincidence… that most selfies are shot in pretty exotic locations, on holiday when people are experiencing things that are away from their humdrum, mundane lives,” he said. “It’s not about sharing our humanity, it’s about really sharing a version of our identity that we would like people to believe.”
Here’s a quick roundup of the exhibition’s best selfies: