In keeping with the theme of the 2022 edition of the Festival Art Souterrain, artist María Ezcurra presents a set of masks and costumes that-instead of hiding or altering one’s identity-reflect individual experiences, as well as social and political issues related to the pandemic.
The pieces presented in this exhibition function as processes and forms of reflection, reviewing the connection of our confined bodies with space, boundaries and our own identity. Created in the artist’s studio home over the past year, the masks and costumes also explore how this “new normal” has affected the lives of women, working mothers, children and adolescents, and immigrant communities.
The masks were made from everyday materials and household items such as tea bags and washing machine lawns, stones and flowers, colored sponges and gold and silver fibers, shrunken clothing and slimming corsets that make breathing difficult. There are also suits made from bird cages and insulating metal blankets – used as emergency shelters with immigrants – and cocoons made from nylon stockings.
Functioning as liminal sites that mediate, protect and limit the body, many of these pieces will be activated by a series of participants, friends and family of the artist. The photographs resulting from these interactions reflect diverse experiences, intertwined stories structured by personal memories, as well as the shared circumstances that have affected us in these times of social distancing.
Thus, when interpersonal relationships became even more distant, this exhibition shows how the pandemic changed the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us, as well as the way we behave, also allowing us to connect with other forms of co-existence.