Is mandatory to wear face masks in public spaces, and during the past months’ many businesses started to produce them as the demand increased. White, colourful, with special applications, they are now part of our daily life.
The project Hidden Portrait, created by the German artist Volker Hermes, inspired by the paintings from the Renaissance until the end of the 19th century analyze and reflect on the form of expression of each period, and incorporate them in our time by using current dress codes, as well as fetish elements. The subjects of Volker Hermes’ portraits wear extravagant face masks that can be inspired by the current situation we’re living. A project that the artist started 10 years ago with his studies of History of Art. “I started to reflect on the social meaning of a painting, the dress code used and the importance of individuality in a portrait. I found a way to express my contemporary mindset and digitally edit a historic piece of art”, told us the artist.
The references to our current situation are strong and clear. The act of covering the face represents a need that we have connected to the pandemic, but also symbolize the loss of our individuality and the perception that we have toward each person is based on the elements that surround us. “I want to show that portraits used to be a luxury good reserved exclusively to the élite. Every pose, every piece of clothing served a purpose. These declarations used to be obvious to the viewers of the time. Now we don’t understand these codes as easily, we’re used to analyzing people and facts way too quickly”.