Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
Oscar Wilde (The Happy Prince and Other Tales, 1888)
Vangelis' latest series of works, the 'White Masks', captures the harsh reality we are facing in recent years with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Faithful as he is to marble as a material, Vangelis produced a series of works that undoubtedly constitute a social criticism.
The mask, an archetypal symbol, has been used throughout the centuries by different cultures and to serve different purposes. In modern and contemporary art, the mask has been used by great artists such as Picasso, Modigliani, Matisse, Kircher, Rebecca Horn, and others.
With this series, Vangelis, inspired by the reality of our everyday lives during the pandemic and its aftermath, explores the theme of the mask/facade for the first time in his long career. For Vangelis, the mask is an artistic or ritual 'object' as well as a means of personal expression. His masks, although restraining by nature, are undoubtedly conveying important messages. The mask with the hand placed in front of the mouth symbolizes the domestic abuse and femicide - influenced by 'Me-too' movement.
Although Vangelis' masks are contemporary in many ways, their form and shape are inspired by Mycenaean, Geometric, and Cycladic art. Geometric motifs are combined with the elongated noses of the Cycladic figurines and the Golden Mask of Agamemnon of the Mycenaean period. Vangelis sculpts marble in a way that connects the past and present.
For Vangelis, the mask inspires, dramatises, encrypts, heals, reveals, and conceals; it narrates and metamorphoses as a symbol of eternity and universality.
Marble | 2020-22