EVA MUELLER, SHORLISTED 3RD BIENNIAL’S GRANT
BLACK FACE PROJECT
BLACK FACE is an anti-racism project created by Eva Mueller. It is a series of
19 portraits of people of all genders, races and ethnicities whose faces are
painted pure black.
Black, because it takes us back to the beginning of our race, the human race, in
Africa. Black, because it is the anti-color, it swallows all light, distractions vanish,
only pure form remains.
By zooming into each face, not showing hair or any other reference to cultural
and racial heritage, the eyes become the only portal for the viewer. We are
allowed a glimpse deep into the soul of each individual. In that moment, we enter
into a stillness, a collective recognition of what connects us all on a deeper level.
Looking into the eyes of each person in the series we realize that the genders
seem to blur and move to the background.
Participants spend about half an hour getting their faces meticulously painted by
the artist, which gives both parties time to get familiar with each others presence
before the actual photograph is taken.
A new way of seeing oneself opens up while being liberated from the confines of
ethnicity, race, and gender. One realizes that we are all human beings.
With the grant money, I would like to show BLACK FACE in schools, universities
and/or institutions that talk about race and diversity. For the exhibition I would like
to create another video piece as that was the piece that mesmerized the viewers
the most. Also I would like to produce 4 more mounted and framed photographs
to bring the total of pieces up to 10 to show the scope of the work.
In addition to that I would like to offer The BLACK FACE Experience to select
persons depending on time and funding available.
At the present time, the show consists of 6 mounted and framed photographs,
23” x 32”.
Framed photographs and video installation.
BLACK FACE morph video.
Edition of 3 (the video piece in the exhibition sold)
This video consists of 19 faces with a total duration of 10:31 minutes.
These faces continuously morph one into the next at a slow pace with barely
perceptible shifts as the faces change. Each transition from face to face lasts
approximately 30 seconds.
The video can be viewed at: https://vimeo.com/155482712
38in x 30in x 4” 4K Sony 43” video monitor, hand welded and blackened steel frame with
mounting plate, remote and wireless keyboard
The BLACK FACE Experience:
Anyone who is interested to experience this process can apply. I will be painting the
sitters face with water based theatrical non-toxic make-up. The painting process takes
app 30 minutes and creates an intimate bond between the artist and the subject. When
the persons face is completely black, they can look at themselves in the mirror. The
emotions felt when they see themselves for the first time being completely black are
profound. Its different for everyone. The sitter is invited to share their experience and
how it makes them feel.
The actual photo shoot takes around 15 minutes. The whole process will be video taped.
The resulting photograph will become part of the Black Face series.
Various stages of the painting process.
Eva Mueller explores gender definition and gender fluidity in her portrait series
GenderFuck. It is also an invitation to rethink one’s own stance on gender definition.
Not being certain about a person’s gender can create an uncertainty that touches us
deep inside and takes us out of our comfort zone, however it also teaches us to break
free from old restrictions and limitations and see with a liberated eye.
Mueller takes a look between the poles of our binary system of gender where the lines
blur, cross over and sometimes even loop around full circle. The images are exhilarating
and wildly inspiring.
The subjects range from drag performers, transgender and non-binary individuals to
persons who are exploring their gender-identity in a playful way.
I would like to continue to photograph for the series and create a coffee table book
GenderFuck with photographs, interviews and short essays about some of the subject’s
Exhibition at Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art.