Carmen Schabracq works in various media, from painting, sculptural installations, mask making to performance in which the theatricality of life plays an important role. She collects stories from different myths, traditions, art history and her own experiences to recreate visual narratives. She is interested in the physicality of the body versus the -masked- head, which results in a tactile and bodily character of her work. The mask is a recurrent object and theme within her work, which she uses to explore the complexity of human identity and her own ‘role’ as a female artist. A mask is a tool within a ritual or performance, used to become 'the other'. Playing this 'other' in different ways, her characters can take on any identity and move in any kind of colorful space. Carmen's work can be looked at as a form of humorous escapism.
Carmen was born in Amsterdam (1988), where she now lives and works. In 2012 she obtained her BA in fine arts from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, after a year of painting studies at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome. In 2015 she obtained her MA in theater costume design at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, with a research and body of work she called 'naked masks'. In 2017-2018 she received the ‘new makers subsidy’ from the Performing Arts Fund NL, with which she made two in-situ performances in Zeeland. The last months of 2019, Carmen spent at an artist in residency in Mexico City where she researched the local masks and the cultus around death. Autumn of 2020 she worked for a month in the AiR of the Vincent van Gogh house in Zundert, where she researched through live portrait painting whether the portrait could be a form of mask, revealing the inner state of the portrayed.
She is currently working on a new series of paintings called ‘Heroines’, which feature the women around her, each with their own superpower.