Brendan Fernandes

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Neo Primitivism 2

2007


 

Decoys are prefabricated “fake” objects used to entice and trick “real” deer into the trap of a hunter. In this installation I assemble a herd of these of false deer that stand at attention wearing plastic white masks over their faces. The masks are formed from traditional African masks taking on the look of children’s party masks or one used in carnival celebrations. The deer look odd wearing their masks and become further recognized. Instead of hiding their appearance, the mask expose their guise, breaking the illusion that the decoy presents. The masks become a trope that appropriates stereotypical ideas of “Africa”: the primitive and the exotic. The deer wearing the masks create a symbolic version of these ideas. Does a deer become camouflaged by the mask or is it made to stand-in as an “African object” because it wears the mask?

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