Masks make us think of Carnival, of the rituals of African tribes, of death masks, theatre, ﬁlm and fashion, as well as of role play, disguise and protection. Masks are an ancient, often controversial object of human cultural history. And masks also have a long tradition in the visual arts. But how is the subject being addressed in contemporary art?
The international group exhibition at the Aargauer Kunsthaus looks into this matter. Interest in masks among contemporary artists focuses not just on the mask as an object but also, and in particular, on its social, cultural and political implications. Between the opposite poles of showing and hiding and in a society in which skilful self-presentation is regarded as an indicator of personal success, the mask is highly topical. This motivates many artists to take up the subject and diagnose and reassess both the concept and the object from a contemporary point of view.
With works by Silvia Bächli (1956, CH) & Eric Hattan (1955, CH), Nathalie Bissig (1981, CH), Hélène Delprat (1957, FR), Cecilia Edefalk (1954, SE), Aneta Grzezykowska (1974, PL), Christoph Hefti (1967, CH), Laura Lima (1971, BR), Melodie Mousset (1981, FR/CH), Elodie Pong (1966, USA/CH), Ugo Rondinone (1964, CH), Cindy Sherman (1954, USA), Simon Starling (1967, UK), Gillian Wearing (1963, UK) und Sislej Xhafa (*1970, XK).