MASK. In Present-Day Art at Aargauer Kunsthaus, Switzerland, September 1, 2019 – January 5, 2020

“Masks are one of the human cult objects with the longest, richest and at the same time most controversial history. In the interplay between showing and veiling, masks are highly topical in contemporary society and culture as well. The international group show MASK. In Present- Day Art at Aargauer Kunsthaus explores the issue in 160 current works of art.

When thinking of masks, we think of Carnival, African tribal rituals or death masks, theatre, film and fashion – of role playing, changing identities, veiling and protection. Masks are one of the human cult objects with the longest, richest and at the same time most controversial history. They also have an extensive tradition in the fine arts. But how is the subject of the mask treated in contemporary art? The international group show MASK. In Present-Day Art explores this issue in depth. 

MASK shows that contemporary artists are interested in the mask not only as an object but also very much in its social, cultural, political and symbolic implications. In the interplay between showing and veiling and in a society in which adroit self-presentation is seen as a measure of personal success, the mask today is once again a subject of high topicality.” — Aargauer Kunsthaus 



Sabian Baumann, Untitled, 2008. Unfired clay, paint, ca. 24 x 15 x 12 cm. In possession of the artist. Courtesy Galerie Mark Müller, Zürich © Sabian Baumann. Foto: Anja Busse

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Olaf Breuning, Emojis, 2014. C-print/Photo wallpaper, Variable dimensions. Courtesy of the Artists © 2019 Studio Olaf Breuning

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Edson Chagas, OIKONOMOS, 2011. C-Print, 100 x 100 cm. Courtesy of the artist and APALAZZOGALLERY © Edson Chagas

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Cecilia Edefalk, At the Moment Untitled, 1997/1998. Oil on canvas, Ø 168 cm. Malmö Konstmuseum © Cecilia Edefalk / Andreas Nilsson / Malmö Konstmuseum

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Gauri Gill, Untitled, from Acts of Appearance, 2015- ongoing. Pigment print on archive paper, 40.6 x 61 cm. Courtesy Gauri Gill © Gauri Gill

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Aneta Grzeszykowska, Selfie #19, 2014. Pigment print on cobon paper, 27 x 36 cm. Fotomuseum Winterthur Collection © Aneta Grzeszykowska. Foto: Courtesy of Raster Gallery, Warsaw

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Christoph Hefti, World Mask, 2014. Dyed wool, natural wool and silk (different pile heights), 100 knots, 305 x 220 cm. Courtesy MANIERA and the artist © Christoph Heki

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Laura Lima, Nomads, 2008. Acrylic on canvas, 77 x 34 x 3 cm. Courtesy the artist and Galeria Luisa Strina, São Paulo © Laura Lima. Foto: Edouard Fraipont

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Christian Marclay, Impact (from the series ‘Masks’), 1992. Record covers, archive (adhesive) tape, 126 x 94 cm. Collection of Nancy and Steve Crown © Christian Marclay. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

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Mike Nelson, Untitled, 2009. Mixed Media, 120 x 60 x 30 cm. ISelf Collection © Mike Nelson. Foto: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano. Courtesy the artist and Galleria Franco Noero

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Ugo Rondinone, moonrise. south, july, 2003. Casting, polyurethane black, 40 x 22 x 14 cm. Burger Collection, Hong Kong © Ugo Rondinone. Courtesy the artist, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich / New York. Foto: Stefan Altenburger Photography, Zürich

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Amanda Ross-Ho, Untitled Apparatus (RED, GREEN, BLUE), 2017. Satin, foam, elastic band, thread. Each 190 x 71 x 5 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Praz-Delavallade, Paris / Los Angeles © Amanda Ross-Ho. Foto: Ruben Diaz

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John Stezaker, Mask (Film Portrait Collage) CLXXIII, 2014. Collage, 20 x 17.6 cm. Courtesy the artist and The Approach, London © the artist, courtesy the artist and The Approach, London. Foto: FXP Photography, London, 2014

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Sislej Xhafa, Again and Again, 2000–2012. C-print, 128 x 300 cm. In collaboration with Donna Musica Orchestra, Courbevoie. Courtesy GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana © Sislej Xhafa

MASK. In Present- Day Art curators: Madeleine Schuppli, Director Aargauer Kunsthaus, in collaboration with Yasmin Afschar, Curator Aargauer Kunsthaus. Curatorial Assistant: Luca Rey, research intern Aargauer Kunsthaus

Images courtesy Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland.