About FACELESS by Bogomir Doringer

The premise of this exhibition is to explore the common occurrence of images of hidden faces in the creative arts. I first became acquainted with the notion of hidden faces a decade ago, while still in the fashion industry. Through my collections I experimented with covering models’ faces in masks or hair, thus attempting to make a statement on the constant "overdose of beauty" and artificiality permeating contemporary society through the media. This suggested a possible return to masks as a solution for covering destabilized identities.

Throughout my art studies and practice, I have been striving to bind together fashion and art - inspired by sociopolitical investigations. After noticing the like-minded interest in the subject matter, I began to collect a variety of faceless works to try and understand why they exist and what they are trying to communicate.

September 11 and its consequences came about in an important phase of my creative development and have had an impact on my interest on facelessness ever since. It would be fair to say that this event was one of the triggers that provoked this tendency in my work. The fear of terrorist attacks led to a change in security concepts and the installment of surveillance systems in public spaces – presented to us as if for our own safety. As a result, we feel that our faces are becoming "compressed" and exposed. The only way for us to regain this lost privacy is through subversive media strategies or by reinventing privacy.

Following the events of 9/11, images of masked faces of terrorists became dominant in the media; repeated as a ghostly, unknown presence that reminds us of the unsafe time we live in. At the same time, throughout Europe people began to pursue a ban on burqas. Events like the murders of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands led to public discussions on the impact of Muslim culture through Muslim minorities on so-called "western values". I explored this metaphorically in my graduate work "Deranged", where the artwork and the viewer are simultaneously deranged by each other’s presence.

In addition to the loss of privacy, the rules of modern technology demand that we be constantly visible. Social networks, initially developed as platforms for communication, came to define standards of everyday activity and lifestyle. They approach us with the promise of serving as tools for self-promotion, then increasingly invade our privacy with our express consent.

The unstable identity of the present begs for the return of power of the mask from ancient times, when it was used as a form of protection, disguise, performance, or just plain entertainment.

FACELESS was exhibited in two separate parts at freiraum quartier21 INTERNATIONAL/MuseumsQuartier in Vienna during 2013 and has drawn more than 26,000 visitors. The installation at Mediamatic marks that the exhibition, for the first time, can be viewed as a whole.

Bogomir Doringer
Artist and curator 


FACELESS at Mediamatic, Amsterdam

Exhibition Opening: Saturday, January 25, 19:30 

Duration: January 26 - April 13, 2014

Opening hours: Wed-Sun 13:00-18:00

Address: Mediamatic, VOC-kade 10, 1018 LG Oostenburg, Amsterdam




Marina Abramović, Martin Backes, Jeremy Bailey, Jonathan Barnbrook for David Bowie, Aram Bartholl, William Basinski, Marc Bijl, Zach Blas, Heiko Bressnik, Thorsten Brinkmann, Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau, Mark Brown, Asger Carlsen, Ben DeHaan, Sofie Groot Dengerink, Nezaket Ekici, Arthur Elsenaar, Shahram Entekhabi, Caron Geary aka FERAL is KINKY, Hrafnhildur Gissurardóttir, David Haines, Ren Hang, Adam Harvey, Sabi van Hemert, Ursula Hübner, Damier Johnson aka REBEL YUTHS, Katsuya Kamo for Junya Watanabe COMME des GARÇONS, KATSU, Brian Kenny, Ute Klein, Nienke Klunder, Jakob Lena Knebl & Thomas Hörl, Miodrag Krkobabić, Mirko Lazović, Theo-Mass Lexileictous, Vanessa Lodigiani, Zachari Logan, Jill Magid, Maison Martin Margiela, Slava Mogutin, Veljko Onjin, Bernd Oppl, Tanja Ostojić, Marco Pezzotta, Gerda Postma, Gareth Pugh, Eva-Maria Raab, RAF SIMONS, Ana Rajcevic, Daphne Rosenthal, Tarron Ruiz-Avila, Mustafa Sabbagh, Olivier de Sagazan, Daniel Sannwald for WOODKID, Bryan Lewis Saunders, Carmen Schabracq, Frank Schallmaier, Hester Scheurwater, Tim Silver, Jan Stradtmann, Sergei Sviatchenko, Jun Takahashi for UNDERCOVER, Maiko Takeda, Saša Tkačenko, Marc Turlan, Levi van Veluw, Ari Versluis & Ellie Uyttenbroek, Viktor & Rolf, Philippe Vogelenzang & Majid Karrouch, Daniel Vom Keller, Martin C de Waal, Addie Wagenknecht & Stefan Hechenberger, Anne Wenzel, Bernhard Willhelm, Andrew Norman Wilson and Lucy Wood.


CONTRIBUTORS FROM www.facelessexhibition.net

Abbas Noori, Adriana Bogdanova, Alan Marcheselli, Amanda Morgan Jansson, Andrea Judit Tiringer, Andreas Messinger, Anna Meschiari, Anne Brannys, Barbara Loisch, Ben Bibriesca, Bertram List, Billyjane Marinkovich, Brice Chatenoud, Carmen Palermo, Christina Phan, Christos Kapralos, Christos Tzimas, Darko Taleski, Deborah Kelly, Dejan Batrićević, DIORALOP, Dirk H. Wilms, Florian Aschka, Francesca Caraffini, Gregor Wintgens, Heidi Schatzl, Jodi Lynn Concepcion, Joe Sobel, Joline Platje, Katarzyna Szugajew, Keanoush Da Rosa, Lique Schoot, Manuel Rodrigues, Marija Sevic, Marta Djekic, Masha, Meo Smeik, Michaela Knížová, Michal Rutz, Michela Pelusio, Miodrag Guberinic, Nathan Langlois, Nicolas Ocampo Ayub, Noël M. G. Gaar, Pablo Ravazzani, Polly Karpova, Raphael Rehbach, René Schmalschläger, Sabrina Baruzzi, St.Luke, Stefan Joksic, Stefan Joksic & Milan Bogovac, Tonči Kranjčević Batalić and many others.

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