An important part of the contemporary creation placed the mask at the center of its preoccupations. From Claude Cahun’s travesties, to Cindy Sherman’s masquerades, via Gillian Wearing’s silicon masks or Patrick Tosani rigidified pants, everything seems to indicate a constant and ever renewed interest in the meanings of this object, be it on a archetypical, symbolic or transgressive level.
However, one might wonder about this « return » to this canonical figure, from where the notions of « person » and « self » originate (Mauss, 1968). The study of the Greek prosôpon and the Latin persona shows a paradoxical aspect: indeed, the mask is, not what hides, but what reveals. In this case, it experiences itself as an externalization and an extension of self that allows the face as subject to experience their face as object. Could the mask then be an artificial organ that carries the psychic and collective processes of individuation?
To that one might add the fact that photography and social networks now allow for unprecedented possibilities to extend and multiply images of oneself. Then, what does it imply, for these artists, to photograph the mask? It is as if, from an existential quest to a fictional self, the workings of the masks were moving towards an awareness of its ego-technical nature.