Over the years, Cindy Sherman has represented herself as a range of female stereotypes and characters, to examine the construction of identity within Western society. The works should not be construed as self-portraits; rather, they address how we understand and construct our own identity. She invites us to dissect the influence of fictive identities on our own lives and to examine the tension produced between inner perceptions and the outer representation of the self.

Untitled #85 is part of a series of large, full-color, horizontal photographs commissioned by Artforum magazine. For the images, Sherman fabricated simple sets and selected her wardrobe from thrift and costume shops to portray scenes that appear to be pulled from recent films. While works do not reference specific films, they represent generic types. Often termed the “Centerfold” series, these photographs depict women in vulnerable situations who often convey a level of fear or anxiety. By leaving the work untitled, Sherman gives viewers room to make their own interpretations, creating yet another fiction within a fiction.