Conference Design: Poster, Flyer, 2019

6th Conference of the IDP Mimesis
4th – 6th July 2019, Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte Munich and LMU Munich

Masks are an integral part of human culture. They have been a vital element of theatrical practices since antiquity and have always played a crucial role in ritual as well as artistic and literary activities throughout the world. Their innate tension springs from their capacity to both show and conceal as well as to imitate and create, thus displaying a structural analogy to the workings of mimesis. Masks have the ability to generate an oscillation between truth and illusion, an interplay between identity, difference and appropriation. In recent years, various artists, performers and political activists have been attracted to the object of the mask and have updated the powerful act of un/masking for our times.

This international and interdisciplinary conference brings together papers from various fields within the humanities. It seeks to connect diverging theories and methods in order to open new perspectives on numerous manifestations of the mask, ranging from Baroque theater and turn-of-the-century cabaret to modern facial recognition, from shamanistic practices to 18th-century aesthetics and digital art. In addition to addressing questions of identity in postcolonial societies and the usage of masks in political movements, the conference will also highlight figures of the mask in fashion, music, literature and 20th-century avantgardes. Reflecting acts of un/masking in a diverse range of artistic media and a broad spectrum of contexts, this conference encourages theoretical reflection on its ambiguity and mimetic practices.