Wall of Masks

The masks in this post were painted by hand.The patterns are inspired by various cultures around the world.

When the masks are displayed at a store they seem lifeless. The plainness of the masks make them seem like they have no character. This is striking, because a lot of people, myself included, can relate with a human face. Portraits say a lot about a persons character. By looking at a face or a representation of a face, for example a drawing of a face, we can more or less discern that the portrait represents character/ personality. Even if we are not necessarily sure what this character is. So seeing the masks on display inside the store did not evoke such thoughts. I merely viewed them as objects. The other masks which were decorated did, however evoke such thoughts of character. This is striking, because they are also lifeless objects that have no intrinsic meaning. It could be said that the decorations on the masks represent a variety which needs to be classified by the person choosing the mask. So the best I believe we can do is to think then of decorated masks as personalities, because masks cover up faces. Faces which otherwise represent character. The plain white masks are unable to do so, because they represent conformity, a kind of sameness. People all have the same face when they wear a blank mask. But add patterns, colour, shapes, etc. then you have diversity. This diversity can be applied to people’s own interpretations of signs. So for example a person that likes structure in their life could be more inclined toward masks which have geometric decorations rather than organic ones.

 

 

White masks at the store

 

This is the idea behind the artwork. To take a lifeless object and present it in a different way. The plain white, conforming masks, offered much possibilities. Any sort of decoration can be applied to the mask. So such mass produced objects can be altered by the consumer in order to differentiate them from other equally mass produced objects. This happens when the consumer attaches a personality to the object. In the end the mask still primarily retains its status as a mass produced object. Through the application of creativity by the consumer it gains an extrinsic meaning. Meaning which will differ from person to person.

 

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