Log Lady & Dirty Bunny , 2009
Dirty Bunny: 142.2 x 73.7 x 88.9 cm (56 x 29 x 35 in.)
Log Lady: 39.4 x 185.4 x 61 cm (15.5 x 73 x 24 in.)
Rodent: 16.5 x 48.6 x 22.2 cm (6.5 x 19.1 x 8.7 in.)
Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery, New York
The use of masks and disguises in contemporary art allows for a range of interpretations and serves as a powerful tool for conveying messages that are both personal and universal. By obscuring or altering the face and body, artists are able to create works that challenge the viewer's perception of self and invite a deeper examination of the forces that shape our identities.
Kader Attia, an Algerian-French contemporary artist, creates various scaled installations using masks to explore social and political issues such as globalization, post-colonialism, and the appropriation of African cultural symbols by the West. Attia's works also address the role of masks in shaping our perceptions of identity. Marnie Weber, an American artist based in Los Angeles, is another artist who often incorporates masks into her works. Using them as a physical object in her performances and installations and as a painted artifact worn by human-like figures in her paintings, Weber explores themes of nostalgia, fantasy, and mythology through her dreamlike narratives that blur the line between reality and imagination.
In addition to their use as tools for exploring social and political issues, masks have also been utilized by artists as a means of conveying a sense of anonymity and disguise. For example, an American photographer Cindy Sherman often features herself wearing masks or other types of disguise in her works to question traditional notions of femininity and identity. Her pieces explore themes of autonomy, the performance of identity, and the impact of surveillance on our sense of self. Similarly, Korea-born Nikki S. Lee uses photography and performance art to challenge common perceptions of identity and call into question the authenticity of self-presentation in contemporary society.
Face/Body (Human Figures)
Reality and Fantasy / Illusion / Imagination
Large Scale Installation/Sculpture
Searching for Identity