The Swivel Gallery located in Brooklyn, NY opens April 3 next Derek Weisberg's personal exhibition Still Lives in which the artist presents some recent sculptures. The artist explores his favorite themes of still life and memento mori . The artist notably presents his series "Life Masks", reminiscent of the practice of funeral masks from the Victorian era. It was then a question of molding the face of the deceased in plaster to preserve the resemblance of the loved one. Masks of the dead were kept as haunting reminders of mortality, set against the backdrop of the awe-inspiring culture of Victorian mourning. In Weisberg's case, life masks serve as a tool of intuitive expression and uninhibited creation, as they are made on his living body.
Some of these masks can be found in Weisberg's monograph Masks and Bergamasques reissued in 2020 by Lord Byron Publishing. "The year 2013," the author notes, "marks a break in the work of this tightrope walker which announces the end of his funereal obsessions. The visit which he undertakes to the interior of the Earth imitates on his face grotesqueness which punctuates an initiatory work year by year. The funerary masks which the art- ist produces up to now in the fashion of those who bring into play on the face of the dead to preserve its image, suddenly come to life. They transform in his Life Masks , which do not so much hide his personality as rather to reveal his most precious being, his hidden stone. They freeze for ever the most fleeting emotions and the con- dition of the most muted souls. "
Weisberg's work highlights the present, the importance of being present, alive and in the moment, imploring viewers to reflect on their own self-awareness. Alongside the life masks, is also presented the video Life Mask, His Face Was Only A Memory of His Former Face , created by Shaun Roberts in collaboration with Weisberg in 2015. This video presents in a particular way The performance Weisberg achieves every time he creates a Life Mask by applying a slab of clay to his own face is dramatic.