In her most recent works, produced since 2001, Elisabeth Masé (*1959 Basel) has investigated the theatrical portrait. Her portraits, without the context of their usual environment, appear in strange, imaginary scenarios, occasionally in the form of unfathomable, puzzling, curious beings. Their artificial poses and appropriated attitudes, fantastic costumes and deformations cancel out any attempt at mere portraiture, mere depiction. They exude a symbolist, surreal, aura. Masé often uses allegories, traditional topoi and other references to art history. In her group portraits, there is a pronounced – and indivisible – relational intermeshing between her personae.
Masé’s painting brings new energy to the centuries-old tradition of portrait painting, creating works radically different from other post-war art.