GILLES CLEMENT GALLERY
Nov 10 – December 14, 2020
MASKED - UNMASKED
Masked - Unmasked
Centers on a painting: The Kiss, Ref: Alfred Eisenstaedt.
The source is a famous photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt, the photo journalist for Life Magazine, who on V-J Day, August 14, 1945, was in Times Square capturing images of the celebrations. One photograph was perfect and it became a symbol for the hope and joy of that moment when danger was finally in the past. Called “Kissing the War Goodbye,” the photograph portrays a U.S. Navy Sailor spontaneously kissing a stranger, a dental assistant, at the end of WWII.
Now, 75 years later, Serge Clement and Marina Kamena have returned to that potent image and brought it forward, in their inimitable way, to our current world situation. The painting displays that same couple and that same kiss but, in contrast to the crowds of celebrating people, it is set in an empty Times Square. In addition, the kiss is shared while wearing the surgical face mask that has become a ubiquitous world symbol of a pandemic. The painting infers that this is a similarly tumultuous moment and that we will be looking back at the pandemic, as we do at WWII, as firmly in the past.
Other works in the exhibition explore the mask as a recurring, mysterious element in our culture and ingeniously suggest some new ideas.