Beyond The Masquerade: Simulation and Reproduction of African Mask Forms
E. K. Bodjawah; k. Seid’ou; F. E. Kofigah; S. Sosu

The serial sculpture project under review repurposes the range of materials, formats and production relations in West African masking systems which have survived modernity. Inspired by Benjamin‟s productivity thesis and by the media plurality of Russian Constructivists, American Minimalists and others, the artist extends African mask forms beyond the autonomous and medium-specific object congenial to the white cube gallery space. With a nod to Lévi-Strauss and accumulative practitioners of international art, the masks are made through hybrid processes of appropriation and bricolage. The artist transforms decommissioned lithographic plates purposefully collected from Ghana‟s printing industry into serial facemasks. By default, the used plates also archive symbolic, social and technical histories of an evolving African modernity. Artisanal techniques of mechanical reproduction akin to industrial embossment and stamping are adapted in an assisted reproduction of the serial facemasks. The mask forms end up as strange objects, as parts of site-specific installations or as supports for performances. Consequently, through this sculptural simulation of African mask forms, the artist presents a distinctive interpretation of reproduction and media plurality in relation to Contemporary Art of Africa and new possibilities in 21st Century art experience.

Full Text: PDF       DOI: 10.15640/ijaah.v6n1a9