Polaroid series: Naked Masks

2012 – ongoing, polaroid picture series Naked Masks

What’s a naked mask? It seems a contradiction. A mask is a surface and covers something, naked is the opposite of coverage.
Naked masks is a long term -visual- research on the stratification of an identity trough masks, in the form of a polaroid photo series.

When I was a child, my parents often made polaroid pictures of me. I loved to pose in one of my costumes, with a mask or a painted face and stand in the middle of the attention for the moment of the photograph to be taken.
Even though I was very shy, the surface of the mask and the distance of the photo camera gave me the freedom to be comfortable with the performative role.

Since I started making masks as an artist, I continued this photographical series. Every mask I make I document with a polaroid picture, with myself as the model, wearing the mask. It’s an ongoing project and in the past six years I made more then 60 polaroids.
It was a logical thing for me to do so and the ‘naked mask’ research is the concept or intellectual reason behind it, but meanwhile I realized, that unconsciously I am continuously re-enacting that feeling of the child I was, to be for one short moment in the middle of the attention as a performer, as Carmen Schabracq with every time an other appearance of my own identity.

Every identity consist of many faces, many layers, many masks. One for every other situation, relation, feeling or momentum. ‘Wearing a mask’, as a saying doesn’t necessarily to have a negative connotation, such as ‘being fake’, ‘pretending’ or ‘acting differently then who you really are’, since everybody is always wearing masks, naked masks, in every situation an other.

The polaroid as an object and how to relate to that as the observer; A photograph is a surface, a visual outside layer, just like a mask.
This forms a challenge for the observer of the photograph to imagine and feel what is behind the surface. It’s a challenge of mirroring, fantasy and reflection of the spectator, who tries to relate to the masked face on the photograph.
Does one exist without the eye of the beholder?

Naked masks is about the stratification of an identity, of a persona. And about the playfulness of the performative research within this series.

polaroids in cbk

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