Promotional image of the exhibition The Mask Never Lies, at the CCCB

'The Mask Never Lies', from Ku Kux Klan to Anonymous

The CCCB explains the reasons for hiding someone's face and reviews its uses by heroes, guerrillas, criminals and secret societies up to Covid-19.

Though its origins date back to the Neolithic period, the use of the mask has been wide for a range of purposes: from the defence of anonymity or cultural resistance to identification to the exercise of terror strategies by states or uncontrolled groups. In fact, today's world could not be understood without masks and masquerades, let alone the current context where a pandemic has forced us to live behind them.

The Mask Never Lies is based on the essay Algunas cosas oscuras y peligrosas. El libro de la máscara y los enmascarados, by Servando Rocha, who alongside Jordi Costa has curated the exhibition at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB). They propose an underground history of the last century and a half, from the racist members of the Ku Klux Klan to the feminist punk group Pussy Riot. There is a heterogeneous repertoire of masked faces behind which lie not only identities but also the origin of certain phenomenons that define the present day, such as fake news, conspiracy theories or the mechanisms of biopolitical control.

The exhibition is structured in seven areas that function as closed narratives. However, they are all connected below the surface by revealing thematic and iconographic recurrences. The Mask Never Lies combines a wide section of documentary material and audiovisual resources. They all have objects that allow us to understand the polysemy of the mask (Zapatista ski masks, protest hoods, Mexican wrestlers' masks, gas masks or folkloric masks) as well as the singularity of the different political contexts (with Masonic objects, activist pamphlets or weapons).

The exhibition also introduces works by artists including Félicien Rops, Lavinia Schulz, Leonora Carrington, Kati Horna, Marcel Janco, David Lloyd and Lourdes Grobet. There are also new artistic productions created for the exhibition by Nico Roig, Martí Riera i Onliyú, José Lázaro, Joaquín Santiago, Fernando González Viñas, Dostopos, Mayo Pulgarín (Tropidelia), Las Migras de Abya Yala, Domestic Data Streamers, Antonio Hervás, Beatriz Sánchez and Gitano del Futuro.

Tickets for the exhibition are 6 euros. Holders of the Carnet Jove or the library card, large and single-parent families, retired people and under-25s pay 4 euros. The unemployed, Amics del CCCB, retired people with the Tarjeta Rosa, children under 12 and disability card holders can enter for free. You can buy your tickets in person at the CCCB ticket office or online by choosing the day and time you prefer through this link.

Publication date: Monday, 06 December 2021
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