The Motif of a Cosmetic Mask in Lithuanian Art of the 2010s
Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis
Keywords:mask, face, cosmetic mask, performative art, performative aesthetic, Lithuanian art of the 21th century, Kristina Ališkauskaitė, Jolanta Kyzikaitė, Eglė Vertelkaitė, The Beauty Lab
The Lithuanian art of the 2010s is marked with the emergence of a motif of a cosmetic mask that covers and “alters” the face. It is particularly evident in the works of Kristina Ališauskaitė, Jolanta Kyzikaitė and Eglė Vertelkaitė. The article defines the connection between the motif of a cosmetic mask and performativity, and exemplifies it with one of the earliest cases of its integration into the sphere of art – namely, the project The Beau- ty Lab which was part of the exhibition Innocent Life (2000). The research shows that a cosmetic mask first entered the field of Lithuanian contemporary art as a sign of a performatively documented reality that belonged to both everyday life and the art world, and later as an iconographic figure in painting, graphic art and photography. The analysis of this widely mediated motif seeks to question the traditionally cultural purpose of mask, offers a new and unexpected approach to the problems of personality and identity, and brings forth the multiplicitous visuality of a non-representative and pragmatic mask that remained widely unrecognised by cultural history, and summons its particular yet hard-to-define field of significations.