When asked once about the nature of the human condition and why it is that one so often hides their truest intentions, not only from the world, but more importantly from themselves, Friedrich Nietzsche replied: "Every profound spirit needs a mask; but even more, around every profound spirit a mask is continually growing." We are constantly cultivating a persona that does not necessarily correlate with our best and realest nature, yet without which, we could not truly function.
This is not unmined territory as both Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung have posited that the idea of selfhood is a fluid experience; Jung himself stated that "we meet ourselves time and time again in a thousand disguises on the path of life," so we may be assured of nothing except that behind one's face is another face, one which we must take the time to see and understand.
With this in mind, one might argue that the making of art is the systematic embracing of these endless faces, and that within each work exists its own vibrant and discerning identity, a face that is not so much a literal representation, but a metaphorical ideation - the pursuit of the closest equivalent to our "truest selves." Still, our truest selves may be forged in the fires of serenity, and more often than not, the face behind the face is still itself a shadow, beyond the darkening around the edges of self. Artists like Matthew Barney and Cindy Sherman have mined these territories to great effect, cherishing even the most sinister of projection. Regarding the notion of identity, Cindy Sherman has stated "I'm really just using the mirror to summon something I don't even know until I see it," which suggests that we are, and always will be, an amalgamation of shared experiences and identities, furtively revealed.