The masque goes on, oil and crepe bandage on canvas, 30 x 40 cm
Are we really happy
With this lonely game we playLooking for the right words to say?
But not finding understanding anyway
We're lost in a masquerade
We try to talk it over
But the words get in the way
We're lost inside
This lonely game we play.
No matter how hard we try
To understand the reasons why
We carry on this way
We're lost in this masquerade.
adapted from This Masquerade, Lyrics by George Benson, cover made famous by the Carpenters (hear it on Youtube here).
I wanted to explore a bit further the use of crepe bandage in my art practice. I liked both its symbolic associations and the sculptural qualities of its surface.
And how much of what we see of another person is mask, persona, social face? What lies beneath? Who is peeking out through the mask?
Society is a dance and we all come in costume, each wearing our masks. I was always struck by the line in T.S. Eliot's Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, that we "prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet".
The masks are not there simply there to conceal, but also to reveal. Or rather, to manage. Through our Persona we manage the impression we make on others. Our masks are a translator that conveys our inside world to the outside world in a way the outside world can receive and understand and embrace.
But one's social mask can also become a prison, locking us into a way of behaving and being that feels alien or that daily bruises the personhood within. The Man In The Iron Mask.
Though perhaps the worst fate of all is to identify totally with one's own mask, to believe there is no other mental reality, inner life or personal identity than our social face.
Or is that just a Western myth?
Enough musings for today. Below is a second photo of The masque goes on, but lit from right side.