Los AngelesThe Invisible Man and the Masque of Blackness
Zak Ové (b. 1966) is a British visual artist who works in sculpture, film, and photography. His 40-piece sculptural installation, Black and Blue: The Invisible Man and the Masque of Blackness, features a group of identical, two-meter-high reproductions of an African figure that the artist received as a gift from his father in his early childhood. The figures are rendered in the identical pose of holding their hands up at shoulder level in an act of quiet strength and resilience, and they are spaced evenly in rows to ironically recall either the formation of a group of soldiers or political dissidents. The work’s title references two literary works that speak to historical periods of state-sanctioned racism: a 1605 Ben Johnson play titled The Masque of Blackness, set in London and released at the height of the English slave trade; and a 1952 Ralph Ellison novel titled Invisible Man, set in the United States during the Jim Crow era.
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