In Present-Day Art

Archaic and loaded with meanings: a new survey of masks in art


Title Information

Edited by Madeleine Schuppli

1st edition

, 2019

Text English / German


312 pages, 181 color and 18 b/w illustrations

24 x 32.5 cm

ISBN 978-3-85881-645-0

In cooperation with Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau


Masks evoke scenes of carnival or African tribal rites, we may be thinking of death masks of famous people, theatre and fashion, cosplay, disguise, and of protection. They represent some of the most ancient and most controversial objects of our cultural history. Today’s artists look beyond the mere object, they are interested also in the social, cultural, and political meanings of masks.

This book, published in conjunction with an exhibition at Aargauer Kunsthaus Aarau in fall 2019, explores their appearances in contemporary art. Artists at all times have been attracted by masks and their symbolism. Through works by distinguished Swiss and international artists and concise texts the book demonstrates manifold approaches to the topic of masks.

With contributions by Yasmin Afschar, Daniel Berndt, Hendrik Bündtge, Emily Butler, Wendy Chang, Michelle Cotton, Peter Fischer, Claire Hoffmann, Olivier Kaeser, Melitta Kliege, Susanna Koeberle, Elsy Lahner, Leo Lencsés, Bettina Mühlebach, Lena Nievers, Lucia Rey, Hermant Sareen, Jörg Scheller, Madeleine Schuppli, Angela Strecken, and Thomas D. Trummer.

Authors & Editors

Yasmin Afschar

Daniel Berndt

Hendrik Bündge

Emily Butler

Wendy Chang

Michelle Cotton

Peter Fischer

Claire Hoffmann

 is curator of visual arts at Centre Culturel Suisse in Paris.

Olivier Kaeser

Melitta Kliege

Susanna Koeberle

Elsy Lahner

Leo Lencses

Bettina Mühlebach

Lena Nievers

Luca Rey

Hermant Sareen

Jörg Scheller

Madeleine Schuppli

, born 1965, studied art history at the universities of Geneva, Hamburg, and Zürich. She has been a curator at Kunsthalle Basel 1996–2000 and director of Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland, 2000–2007. She has been appointed as director of Aargauer Kunsthaus in Aarau, Switzerland, in 2007.

Angela Stercken

Thomas D. Trummer

Please send a review copy.
Please send the following high resolution images:


Sabian Baumann, Untitled, 2008. In possession of the artist, Courtesy Galerie Mark Müller, Zurich. © Sabian Baumann; Photo: Anja Busse

Olaf Breuning, Emojis, 2014. Courtesy the artist. © 2019 Studio Olaf Breuning

Aneta Grzeszykowska, Selfie #19, 2014. Collection Fotomuseum Winterthur. © Aneta Grzeszykowska; Photo: Courtesy Raster Gallery, Warsaw

Ugo Rondinone, moonrise. south, july, 2003. Burger Collection, Hong Kong. © Ugo Rondinone. Courtesy the artist, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zürich/New York; Foto: Stefan Altenburger

Amanda Ross-Ho, Untitled Apparatus (RED, GREEN, BLUE), 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Praz-Delavallade, Paris/Los Angeles. © Amanda Ross-Ho; Photo: Ruben Diaz

John Stezaker, Mask (Film Portrait Collage) CLXXIII, 2014. Courtesy the artist and The Approach, London. © the artist, courtesy the artist and The Approach, London; Foto: FXP Photography, London, 2014

Gillian Wearing, Self Portrait as My Mother Jean Gregory, 2003. Kunsthaus Zürich. © Gillian Wearing, courtesy Maureen Paley, London, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles and Regen Projects, Los Angeles


All images printed must come with respective picture credit and may only be published in connection with a book review containing the publishing house, the title of the book and names of editors or authors.


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