Many of you may be familiar with the French author Marcel Proust. Probably few of you have read his work which is often criticised as long-winded, snobbish and unique as well as insightful and often quite dense. Surprisingly, this is the impetus for the current exhibition of masks designed by Foundations students. They were assigned to interpret the answers from Proust’s Questionnaire in visual terms by designing a mask.
Proust Questionnaire 1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? 2. What is your greatest fear? 3. Which historical or living figure do you most identify with? 4. Which living person do you most admire? 5. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? 6. What is the trait you most deplore in others? 7. What is your greatest extravagance? 8. On what occasions do you lie? 9. What do you dislike most about your appearance? 10. When and where were you happiest? 11. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 12. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be? 13. What do you consider your greatest achievement? 14. If you died and came back as a person or thing, what would it be? 15. What is your most treasured possession? 16. What do you regard as your lowest depth of misery? 17. Who are your heroes in real life? 18. What is it that you most dislike? 19. How would you like to die? 20. What is your motto?
Not a typical assignment for a foundation-level class but the results are amazing. The students very nicely met the challenge and the results are so insightful not only in their designs but in the materials and treatment of the masks from a very simple white mask with pen drawings to colourful masks with added materials. The entire gallery simply sings out with fun and imagination which stands in complete contrast to the exhibition of paintings by Damien Egan at the entrance to the gallery where you are confronted by Egan’s paintings of a range of exotic animals and surrealist imagery.
His work realistically captures creatures such as rhinoceros, tigers, leopards etc. many of whom are endangered. His work entitled, When Will It End?, offers a look at the beauty of these animals and their environments and questions our role in their continued existence. He offers a very sobering voice to issues of sustainability, the environment, global warming, uncontrolled poaching etc. by offering us the beauty of each of the beasts and their surroundings. An exciting, if sobering, look at our world.
This exhibition certainly offers any viewer a rich and varied as well as thoughtful experience. Really, there is something for everyone. You will certainly enjoy the experience and possibly have things to ponder. Once again, Taylor’s School of Design exhibits work of a high calibre that surely enriches the campus and community.