Swiss photographer Marie Rime adds a novel twist to the term ‘game theory’ with her latest collection. These stunning photographs of masks explore themes of human perception, power and status between players in a competitive situation. 

These striking looking masks, created from items used in board games, for example, chess pieces, have a tribal feel to their appearance. Inspired by primitive art and its notions of ritual, display and identity that have influenced the works of many artists including Gauguin, Picasso and Matisse.

Armour plating

These masks act as a form of armour, protecting the wearer whilst presenting a neutral face to his or her opponent. The geometric shapes, contrasting textures and bold colours combine to give an inscrutable mask that hides a seething cauldron of emotions underneath.

Games are about power play in which each player tries to be the dominant force. To enhance their status in the eyes of their opponent whilst looking for an ‘edge’ that will enable them to come out on top.

A crucial part of this is the ability to present a strong, impregnable front during the game. To project an air of invincibility that confirms one’s superior status.

Power struggles

The wearer is engaged in a conflict: in a war where the aim is to beat one’s opponent or opponents via a pre-planned strategy. One thinks of a board game as a friendly activity but in reality, the opposite is true. The participants are looking at ways to intimidate or fool each other, achieving their desired status – the ‘winner’.

The artist has a confrontational gaze that dares the viewer to make a move. The best form of defence is attack and in these images, there is a sense that this could happen at any moment. One can almost sense the tension and intense concentration of the players as they consider their next move that may decide the outcome of the game.

About the artist

Marie Rime lives and works in Switzerland. She recently graduated from her BA Photography degree at ECAL, a university of art and design in Lausanne and has an impressive CV that includes group exhibitions in various European galleries, two publications and awards from Switzerland and China.

Power, conflict and war appear to be hard-wired into human DNA, where humankind constantly struggles to get the upper hand.   

The question for the viewer is this: are you a player or a pawn?

This fascinating collection by Marie Rime has been shortlisted for a prestigious international photography festival in Hyeres, southern France.