The Mask of Life 2005

18 2005

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As a metaphor, the mask contains many meanings. I chose to relate to the meanings that contain lifecycles: birth and death, variation, similarity, erosion, stratification, contact, intimacy, powers of change and healing, discovery and concealment.

The external body, beyond being the closest boundary or threshold between the rigid outside and the soft, subjective inside, functions for me as a means for conducting a dialogue between inside and outside, as a type of “secondary skin” that provides an additional layer of protection to the existing outer layer of skin.

Jung attributed the persona to our “illuminated” side, while that other parts of ourselves, with which we cannot come into contact in our everyday existence, he referred to as the “shadow”: the guilt, shame, aggression, sexuality and other repressed facets. Does the mask or the person we assume come to dominate us, or is there room for other persona to appear?  Do we carry this “role” with us from one place to another? Does the mask we carry with us, accompany us as a matter of election? Is it the result  hereditary or genetic? Does it protect us by creating a buffer zone between the threatening and frightening outside, and the soft vulnerable inside?  Which sides do we reveal, and which do we conceal using the mask? Are we willing to live at peace with the mask, or at war, do we accept or refuse to accept it; can we heal ourselves by changing our mask? Do we agree to replace it with a mask with which we can live at peace, a mask that is suitable and fitting, one that allows a broader personal repertoire.

The image of the “Great Goddess”  – an ancient myth, archetypical image, and metaphor – reveals a cyclic pattern of life and endless embodiment of masks in continuous physical transformation. It carries in it the assumption of integrity and unification with the earth, body and mind. Earth is the body of the mother from which we are born and to whom we return in our death. Like dead seeds that are buried in the earth and can receive the gift of re-birth from her body, and they are born again in an eternal godly cycle of birth-death-rebirth, with one form transforming magically into the other.

Photographs of the abdomen express three circles of lifecycles, three generations: young, mature and elderly. They are designed to  uniquely point to the human body – the cyclic occurrence. Layers of body,  layers of age, of skin, repeatedly revealed anew, with the eye of the camera peeling or affixing the young, mature or old embodiments. The repeated exposure of the deterioration of the skin implies a perspective on aging and destruction, yet at the same time, it embodies perfection, based on the appreciation of the cyclic process that contains renewal.

 

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