ALL
ART

THE ART OF THE HIDDEN AND THE MANIFEST IN THE MASKS OF ANASTASIA PILEPCHUK

LIFE & CULTURE

THE ART OF THE HIDDEN AND THE MANIFEST IN THE MASKS OF ANASTASIA PILEPCHUK

Text: Anna Mar

Photo: Anastasia Pilepchuk

March 21 2024

SHARE THE ARTICLE

Anastasia Pilepchuk is a Berlin-based artist with Buryat roots. She creates fantasy masks and face jewellery inspired by the nature and the culture of her beautiful and mystical region. She was born in Yakutia, located in the Russian Far East, where shamanism still exists and is practiced today. This cultural code is evident in Anastasia’s work. As in the traditions of shamanism, masks have an important role in her work. They are a kind of threshold between her inner and outer world, which hides something and somewhere opens a veil of mystery.

What inspired you to start creating masks as an art form?

I started making masks several years ago. I used to be a part of DJ/music/Art duo •Maiden Obey•. 

I was in charge of our image and was making costumes and masks for it. Around 4 years ago I stopped enjoying night life, but still enjoyed artistic part of the project. I no longer perform, however I kept the mask-making process and elaborated it into my practice.

Your masks are so different in design and materials used in them. What factors influence your choices? Are there any particular cultural influences that inspire your mask designs?

I embrace my curiosity in all aspects of life. I can’t stop looking deeper and wider. I believe it’s part of my personality – to explore and not to be stuck on only thing. Every time when I find something new and compelling I try it. That’s how I piled up the big collection of technics, methods, materials etc.

I was born in Yakutia and my roots are from Buryatia – both are indigenous and Asian regions of Russia. Both have their features – several religions, mystythism, rituals, nature. Shamanism practices are very common in Yakutia and Burytia . And the masks , of course, one of the main features on the scene. It would be impossible to be born/live there and not to absorb the culture. I strongly believe it will stay in my DNA for the whole my life.

I've noticed that there are certain themes that frequently appear in your mask designs. For example, a mask with multiplied eyes or with a kind of spikes. Can you describe the symbolism or hidden meanings that may be present in your masks?

I’ve been painting since my childhood, and ,as an element, have always appeared in my art. It’s amazing how they built, how they work and how they perceive information from the outside.

There is no need to say that Human themself is a natures masterpiece, and all parts of their body are perfection. What about spikes – I love visual aspect and it seems attractive to me. Probably I just would love to be born with spiked armor, so I could protect myself.

Do you have a favorite one that you've created?

Now I am very into creating masks from bio materials. I have already made a mask from SCOBY, a mask from agar agar, and in the process a few more unusual materials. By doing this, I try to increase awareness of environmental issues and satisfy my passion for science.

But the very truth is, almost every mask is special to me in it’s own way. I created each one at a certain period of my life, rethinking the processes and personal experiences.

You have been involved in many projects, tell us which one you are most proud of. And can you also share any memorable or unique requests you have received from your clients?

I realized that I really like working in collaboration. That way I could bring something new to my masks that I was very interested in, but that my expertise was lacking. For example, I worked with the artist-musician-roboticist Moritz Geist

I made a mask, he created mechanisms that were activated by touching the mask and played musical instruments. That was great!

More recently, I had an opportunity to help with costumes for the modern theater. The process itself was special for me, being a part of something big that the team is working on is an unforgettable experience. Although I wasn’t the main costume artist, and I didn’t even create masks for this, just some dresses. Five days a week I woke up in the morning went to the rehearsal base, and I was very happy.

Do you believe that masks have a transformative or therapeutic quality for the wearer?

Not only I believe but also I have experience to observe the people who’s personality and attitude change when they put the mask on.

People start to feel differently when they change their clothes, hairstyle or even just put on sunglasses. What to say about a mask that hides the face, or adds some features of the most expressive part of the body. That is, wearing a mask it is easier to separate yourself from the usual and ordinary. And there are also nice bonuses – for example, masks with shining elements add special effects due to light refraction, masks with stones add a soundtrack. One second you were you and now you’re some unknown entity. Of course it’s therapeutic to get out of your body and try something different.

Oscar Wilde said: “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth”. Do you agree with this opinion? Or does the mask hide the true identity of the person.

It can be both or a mask reveals and hides at the same time. Depends on what the person want to achieve. On the one hand, hiding behind a mask makes it easier not to feel embarrassed and to allow yourself to reveal parts of yourself that might be too bold. On the other hand behind the mask you can hide your face and eyes, which is actually a mirror of the soul. It is easier to outsmart the interlocutor.

Nowadays, with facial recognition and state control, masks are only allowed to be worn on Halloween night. How do you see the role of masks in human culture in the future?

I have not yet heard that there is a ban on wearing a mask in public places. Personally, I have no fear of surveillance cameras. Life is not safe nowadays – at any moment you can be attacked, robbed or injured, I prefer to be safe. On the other hand, I am against total control and restricting freedoms.

If surveillance cameras become part of the totalitarian machine and things develop in an unpleasant way, I will become a undercover special agent who create jewelry that is not masks, but at the same time can protect us from big brother surveillance.

 

COMMENT

LEAVE A COMMENT

Actually, this article could
be in your email

Featured materials from FOXYLAB MAGAZINE
are available in our newsletters.
Subscribe and get a dose of inspiration!

SHARE THE ARTICLE

more articles

 

Since few seasons we have been assisting the triumphal comeback of denim. Behind this fashion trend there is mainly one man, The Perfect Designer of the Year according to Katie Granthe, Glenn Martens.

ART

This article is about his artistic path, friendship with Andy Warhol, his relationship with Madonna, the tragic addition to the “27 Club” and his current relevance to the NFT.

ART

Stress as a trigger to the emergence of the surrealistic digital collages. Spanish couple co creates art as a way to survive.

New York’s Gilder Center of American Museum of Natural History is now open. Stunning architectural wonders, fresh exhibitions, and immersive encounters…

Step into the world of Kachorovska’s Cherilyn, where unique enhancements combine style and comfort effortlessly…

logo form

want to share your story
with the world?

We're open to collaborating with creative and talented individuals like you. Leave us your email below, and let's connect for interviews, articles, and more.

don’t miss!

New drop
foxylab ny x Edward Acosta

New drop FXLB x Edward Acosta

A thin edge of seduction and the consumerism fetish is thoroughly blurred in Acosta’s art in the use of both light, and dark tones. Bold lines serve as a fashionable juxtaposition of a peaceful dream-like state and a vivid color, representing action and presence in the moment.

black tee awaken

OVERSIZED BLACK TEE

$160

white pullover dress awaken

WHITE FLEECE DRESS

$230

BLACK FLEECE DRESS

$230

black fleece pullover awaken

BLACK FLEECE PULLOVER

$260

white tee awaken

WHITE TEE

$160

READ MORE ARTICLES

 

Since few seasons we have been assisting the triumphal comeback of denim. Behind this fashion trend there is mainly one man, The Perfect Designer of the Year according to Katie Granthe, Glenn Martens.

ART

This article is about his artistic path, friendship with Andy Warhol, his relationship with Madonna, the tragic addition to the “27 Club” and his current relevance to the NFT.

ART

Stress as a trigger to the emergence of the surrealistic digital collages. Spanish couple co creates art as a way to survive.

New York’s Gilder Center of American Museum of Natural History is now open. Stunning architectural wonders, fresh exhibitions, and immersive encounters…

Step into the world of Kachorovska’s Cherilyn, where unique enhancements combine style and comfort effortlessly…