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My Poor Little Masks

about Masha Svyatogor

My Poor Little Room of Imagination is a Masha Svyatogor’s large collection of portraits of friends, acquaintances and complete strangers, which brings with it a genuine lament for the chaos we live in and the ways we adjust to it in order to survive — When I say ‘survive’, I mean it literally, because personally I feel the strongest aversion to the surrounding aesthetics, the fruit it bears keeps traumatizing me and makes me feel an endless brutal resistance. On the other hand, I grew up in the residential district, I have lived here my whole life, in a typical Soviet apartment building, surrounded by the faceless and outdated forms of citywide development. My own visual culture has formed accordingly.

It turns out a typically adolescent combination: a not very positive attitude to life, a sweet ecstasy from all the pleasures and hardships of our young age, melancholic infantilism, being unsettled and looking for our place and foundation in life: “Who am I? What am I doing? Why?”

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But sometimes it happens that some of your model-friends reconsider their decision to pose, by demanding to give them the original pictures because, for one reason or another, they want to destroy them: When that happens, I find myself choosing between work ethics and the copyright I’m entitled to. A compromise is impossible: the model occupies the author’s territory, effectively devaluating the significance of his art. My work as a photographer is not protected in these cases. Therefore, I’ve decided to “protect” my pictures by depersonalizing the models, masking their faces with someone else’s.

That’s how a new project as Masks-Show was born, thanks to works by painters like Sandro Botticelli, Rogier van der Weyden, Lucas Cranach the Elder and others.

Masha is a Belarusian visual artist based in Minsk. She works with photography and collage.

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cargocollective.com

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