Inspired by Ensor

This was our second class of the Autumn term. We used the artist James Ensor as our inspiration. Ensor, a Belgian late 19th century, early 20th century artist, began using the gaudy masks found in his mothers Ostend carnival gift shop in his paintings, mid way through his career. He used the otherworldly and strange spectacle of these masks to tell stories about his own anti establishment sentiments, using religious stories to his own advantage.  He was a strong atheist, although he identified with the figure of Christ as a figure of mockery. Working in this way gave him complete freedom in his creative work. His painting and etchings were inspirational to both the Surrealist and Expressionist movements of the 20th Century.

Our model Esther, interacting with the masks began by completing a set of movements which ran into one another. Each part was held for a minute, but the idea was to almost draw a continuous dance like pose. This was followed by longer poses, with Esther, wearing the masks as well as being looked down on by two other masks on the wall!