Barbara Kruger is an American conceptual artist born in 1945. Her work mainly consists of monochrome photographs overlaid with attention grabbing red and white captions. The two fonts that feature predominantly in her images are Futura Bold Oblique and Helvetica Ultra Condensed. She often uses pronouns such as "you", "your", "I", "we", and "they"; this makes the images personal and use of them directs you to make a connection with the images instead of just scanning over them. Kruger chooses strong impact words that invoke thought and often the quotes require you to think because they have deeper meanings.
I think this image is directed at highlighting consumerism and how shops and the things we buy make us certain people. For me it accentuates how we think possessions define ourselves. The hand appears to be almost holding on to the message which could symbolise how much people in our society think it's important to "hang on" to the ideal of material possessions. Kruger's images work well because she confronts the viewer with the thought-provoking captions and this forces the viewer to then think about their own opinions in relation to the images. The red framing and chunky text box stand out, almost like an advert, and the colour helps to make the statement even more powerful. The original statement "I think therefore I am" refers to people questioning their existence so I think that Kruger has modified this to create "I shop therefore I am" in order to reflect our current society values and thoughts. People are more concerned with what their shopping says about them rather than doing actual intelligent thinking.
The first thing I noticed when studying this image is that at first you see "You are yourself" and then you notice the little "not" in the middle. I think Kruger has done this deliberately to make the viewer think deeper about themselves and what they think of themselves especially. It makes you explore the image in a personal context, subconsciously you are relating the image to yourself. The inclusion of a mirror could have a deeper meaning; the mirror reflects how you see yourself. The mirror in the image is broken which could represent how the model feels about herself, and her reflection is split up which could be portraying something such as a fragmented personality being displayed literally. This time the image is all monochrome except for a slight red border. Black and white can be associated with sadness and negativity, the colours Kruger has chosen for this image could be a visual portrayal of how the model is feeling. It also helps to focus on the subject matter.
The face is the main thing used to display our feelings and emotions. I think it is interesting that Kruger has chosen to overlay the text over the subject's face; I see it as a physical extension of the model's thoughts or opinions. The model's gaze is straight ahead, making eye contact with the viewer, which automatically makes a connection between yourself and the image. Also intriguing is that she has chosen to split the face and make one side negative. This could suggest many things depending on how a person interprets it. There are lots of deeper meanings in Kruger's work. You could see it as trying to show a split personality, or maybe the literal display of the positive and negative sides of a person. Her choice of using solid red boxes is good as they contrast against the monochrome subject matter. People also associate the colour red with negative things which supports the bold, and sometimes controversial, statements she uses in her images. The red framing and choice of font remind me of magazines or adverts, which like this image, are designed to grab people's attention. From what I have read about this image I believe the statement "Your body is a battleground" refers to 2 things: feminism or controversy about women's rights; and the battle of women trying to be the society 'ideal'.