Untitled (Why are you here?)


Photograph and type on paper

15 x 11.5 cm (5 7/8 x 4 1/2 in.)

In this close-up photograph, a surprised-looking man, his eyes hidden behind thick sunglasses, seems to stare at us, holding his hands up to his temples. Written on his head with large letters in a white frame, the question "Why are you here?" seems to be the reason for his emotion. Below, five tiny questions offer hints of an answer.

Since 1979, Barbara Kruger has made singular photographic works based on found black and white images that she comments on with cynical or ironic maxims. Presented as attractive advertising posters with striking slogans, her works deliver a stinging critique of alienation in our increasingly meaningless society.

Untitled (Why Are You Here?) was shown for the first time by the Pinault Collection during the exhibition "Mapping the studio" (2009-2011) at the Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi in Venice.