Gillian, Mask Masked,
fabric mask, wax sculpture, steel rod and wooden plinth, 2020

The age of the mask is upon us and yet Gillian Wearing had decided, decidedly against the tide, to unmask herself in a series of paintings in her Lockdown exhibition at Maureen Paley. This necessarily aroused my curiosity since Wearing is known for her use of masks in her video and photographic works. Over the years, she has, with masks, covered faces including hers to better uncover identities as social constructs. …

The troubling topicality of Poussin’s painting

A few months ago — a lifetime ago — I went to the Musée Condé in Chantilly. From Raphael to Clouet, from Fra Angelico to Antoine Watteau, the museum is brimming with masterpieces. Yet, I was specifically going to see one of them: the Massacre des Innocents by Nicolas Poussin. 2020 has proven to be the year of the unexpected and indeed, I could not have expected for this painting to resonate so profoundly today. Painted around 1627 in Rome the painting has become bewilderingly current and it has been relentlessly on my mind.

Pierre Rosenberg, the honorary President of…

‘Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.’

— James Baldwin

In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the worldwide uprising prompting urgent conversations to end systemic racism, the need to decolonize our knowledge has become clear. It can therefore help to understand how the discourse is initially colonised. In visual terms, representation of the colonised and of the coloniser is evidently at play in shaping perception but I would like to show how obliteration can be as effective. …

Reine Okuliar

London based art historian and freelance curator, with over 40 global exhibitions. Keep up with Reine on LinkedIn or

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