Interested in challenging notions of authenticity, contemporary artist Hervé Youmbi recalls witnessing a funerary dance in Cameroon where participants wore mass-produced North American masks. In response, Youmbi produced contemporary masks in collaboration with other artists. They took a well-recognized mask from the Scream film series and added a crown of horns, dreadlocked coiffures, and cowrie-studded surfaces—visual elements commonly seen in Yegue masks from Ku’ngang, a religious society among Bamiléké people in Cameroon. Youmbi includes the mask’s shipping crate with transport documentation in the display to highlight the mask’s movements. At the artist’s direction, the mask could travel back to Cameroon for future performances if warranted. With each move, the mask’s status fluctuates between contemporary art, performance, and ethnographic artifact, raising questions of the identity of this work and the role of “ethnographic” practice in contemporary art. Accompanying this label are two texts about the work prepared by the artist himself.
Mixed / Multimedia installation including: 1. Bamiléké Yegué Scream Mask, 2015 - 2017 wood, hair, beads, hide, pigment and cloth 2. Visages de masques II. Video. Duration: 3:45. dimensions variable. Ed: 1 + 1 AP 3. Shipping crate wood, metal hardware. dimensions variable. 4. Field photograph. Fine Art pigment print on Epson Hot Press Cotton Rag 330 gsm Paper 38 cm x 48.3 cm / 15” x 19” Edition: 5 +2 AP
PER AXIS GALLERY: Hervé Youmbi Two-faced / Double visage, 2015-2017 Series: Visages de masques (II) Multimedia installation including: Bamiléké Yegué Scream Mask, 2015 - 2017 wood, hair, beads, hide, pigment and cloth Visages de masques II Video. Duration: 3:45. dimensions variable. Ed: 1 + 1 AP Shipping crate wood, metal hardware. 46 ?” x 22 ?” x 22 ?” Field photograph Fine Art pigment print on Epson Hot Press Cotton Rag 330 gsm paper 38 cm x 48.3 cm / 15” x 19” Edition: 5 +2 AP
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