14th November to 28th February 2021


Curated by Antonio Lettieri and Francisco Vaz Fernandes

Revolutionaries, teenagers, shamans and priests, criminals and actores, people with mental disorders or ashamed to express themselves. Each one of these types, can be connected by a small object, a symbol, that caracterizes a big part of humanity and, as mutable as its expressions over the centuries, it keeps changing and evolving: the mask. In most of the cases, in naming “mask”, some of the first concepts that the word might remind, are probably centered in lie or at least, in mystery.

We tend to interpret the mask as a method to hide ourselves from others and to not reveal one or more aspects of ourselves. The roots of masquerading are old and universal (from the theatre of ancient Greece, to the several carnival rites) and have various interpretations, conflicting and common beliefs usually have a strong relevance in the general opinion: therefore, in an occidental modern world, in whose rituals are increasingly more explicit and appealing, is the mask really just one more method for lying and hiding?

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. Oscar Wilde

You can also find a confirmation in those disguises that don’t have a purpose other than playful and the celebration of the costume, like in the fields of historical restitutions, live dramatization or cosplay (from the crase of the terms costume and play, is the practice of recreating and wearing the clothes of a character from a movie, comics or animated series, and much more), all the activities and hobbies that lately seem to have attracted an increasingly diverse circle of fans.

In this case, the mask wants to be a method of personal expression that goes from the simple presentation of a figurine precisely made, until the creation of an entire world and new characters and, in a sort of mix of genders, the performance is connected.And theatrical art to ritual disguise.

In the four examples presented in the exhibition, the mask seems to be capable of breaking the more common stereotype of masquerading, whose purpose is just to hide one’s identity; in these situations, in fact, once worn, being physical or imaginary, it becomes a method to communicate (and not to hide) one’s own condition, in the attempt of making understand something about one’s self or of establishing a dialogue on a par.