Five Years & Darling Pearls & Co at Platforms Project NET 2020:

masc | mask | masque

Denise Alves-Rodrigues / Itziar Bilbao Urrutia / Rolina E. Blok / Koenraad Claes / Leigh Clarke / Holly Crawford / Chris Dorley-Brown / Alessandra Falbo / Warren Garland / Marcia Beatriz Granero / Marc Hulson / Stewart Home / Esther Planas / Artemis Potamianou / Remco Roes / Alex Schady / Lee Wells / Paul O'Kane

Online from 14th to 31st May 2020 / Publication

Presented annually in Athens since 2013, Platforms Project is an international, independent art fair that charts work produced through collective initiatives. This year Platforms Project establishes a new approach to art viewing via Platforms Project Net, a web-based art fair.

A virtual plan view of the Nikos Kessanlis exhibition space of the Athens School of Fine Arts shows the platforms installed in their digital stands. Viewers can click on a platform's number and title and see the works presented by each artist in the group (video-art, painting, photography, installations, etc). Platforms Project NET 2020 will feature 63 platforms from 23 countries and over 800 artists.

For the event Five Years has teamed up with Darling Pearls & Co and is presenting an international group show selected by Rolina E. Blok, Alessandra Falbo and Marc Hulson. Playing on the semantic and homophonous relationship between the three words that make up its title, the exhibition interweaves themes of concealment, disguise and gender identity.

With reference to the culture of the 17th century court, the word ‘masque’ initially suggested itself as an invocation of the shifting themes of self as other or other as self running through all the artworks in this exhibition. Sometimes framed as a play within a play in the literature of the period (A Midsummer Night’s Dream or The Tempest for example), Masques involved elaborate allegorical entertainment in which identities were disguised. The subversive potential of the form in relation to gender and sexuality was explored in a later work, Theophile Gautier’s classic of 19th Century decadent literature, Mademoiselle de Maupin.

To ‘mask’ is simply to conceal an identity, to take up a different one or, in the case of many of the works included here, to extend an existing one into a magical realist realm.

‘Masc’ is a slang term, short for masculine in the LGBT milieux in which it was coined. Some of the works in the exhibition interrogate its negative connotations in the context of gender politics, both within and without the queer spectrum, reversing or re-reading masc through magic.

image: Warren Garland ‘You are always on my mind’ 2019 Video | |

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