We Are What We Mask is Eko Nugroho’s first solo presentation in Singapore. In this instance, the artist furthers his exploration of masks as images, objects and second skins, as well as the notion of “masking” as a form of concealment or disguise. For Eko, the masked face also symbolises Man’s inherent “two-faced-ness” – the ability to change identities, conform and adopt a new persona for protection or as a form of disguise and transformation.
Inspired by Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood and Willem Vogelsang’s “Covering the Moon, An Introduction to Middle Eastern Face Veils” – an illustration on the history of face veils from pre-Islamic origins to the present day – Eko worked in collaboration with the team at STPI and produced over 70 works during his five-week residency. Some of the major highlights in this exhibition include a series of wearable full-faced masks and “face veils”, photographic prints and paper pulp paintings with relief and screen prints that depict responses to his Singaporean experience and observations of socio-political conditions in his surroundings.
Eko Nugroho (b. 1977 – Indonesia) is an internationally-renowned contemporary artist based in Yogyakarta, one of the major art centers in Indonesia. Having graduated at the Art Institute in the same city, his background in street art and community-based artwork is the quintessential aspect of his expanded body of works. From paintings, drawings, and embroideries, to murals, sculpture, or video, his works are deeply anchored in both local traditions and urban environment. His trademark consists of a new visual language where political messages are playfully intertwined with appropriated aesthetics of street art, graffiti, and comics.