Originally scheduled for March, the exhibition Máscaras (Masks) — the Galeria Municipal do Porto’s first exhibition of 2020 — opened on June 2. Considering the current context, the exhibition has even greater relevance and urgency, given the new meanings that masks have now acquired.
Masks have a longstanding place in the history of societies. As a symptom of a time of extreme change, masking techniques have gained a renewed traction and urgency, materialising in a number of guises. From online avatars used for activism, entertainment or propaganda, to different dynamics that empty or occupy our streets, our everyday ritualised life is now filled with practices of caricature, camouflage, disguise, face-swapping, masquerade, mimicry, protection, ridicule, social makeup and transformation, among others.
João Laia (chief curator of exhibitions at Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art) and Valentinas Klimašauskas (curator and writer, co-curator of the Latvian Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale, 2019) propose a look into the ongoing radical reshaping of our multiple historical, sociopolitical, sexual and transcendental identities, inquiring about the current processes in which we shape-shift from one to the other.