In the intricate web of history and art, threads of past pandemics intertwine with modern crises, creating a tapestry of reflection and resilience. One such artistic endeavor delves deep into the realms of Venice's haunting past, weaving together the threads of the Black Plague and COVID-19, all through the translucent beauty of Murano glass and ceramic masks. In a world often masked by societal expectations and roles, Murano glass serves as a metaphorical mirror, encouraging us to embrace transparency, authenticity, and the beauty of our unmasked souls.

  • TitleUnmasking
  • Type(s)Photography, Sculpture, Tapestry
  • AgendaHumanism
  • Year(s)2020–2022
  • LocationVeneto, Italy
  • ReferencesCarl Jung

Imagine stepping into a gallery where history and contemporary commentary converge in a symphony of creativity. Your eyes are drawn to photographs capturing the ethereal allure of Murano glass, known for its centuries-old craftsmanship rooted in the lagoons of Venice.

Amidst these images, ceramic masks reminiscent of the iconic De Lorme nose masks hang on the walls, their forms a testament to the enduring symbol of protection and disguise. Yet, in this narrative, they speak of more than mere physical barriers. One of the Latin words for "mask" is "persona," a term rich with psychological depth. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung's concept of the persona as our outward-facing self, our masked identity, adds layers of meaning to these creations.

The project delves into the dialectic between concealed and true selves, between facade and identity. The mask, once seen as a barrier during the pandemic, becomes a symbol of introspection and connection. As the artist behind this project reflects, being masked led to a newfound focus on eye contact—the "windows to the soul." In a world veiled by masks, this became an avenue for forging deeper connections, transcending physical barriers to touch upon shared humanity.

Central to this artistic narrative is a candle, a miniature De Lorme nose mask crafted in glass. Its semi-transparency invites contemplation, symbolizing the gradual removal of masks—both literal and metaphorical. The flame flickering within, visible through the eyes of the mask, becomes a metaphor for illumination, for shedding light on our hidden selves and shared experiences.

The choice of Murano glass adds layers of symbolism. Known for its semi-transparency, it embodies the journey towards transparency and vulnerability. It echoes the artist's quest to remove societal masks and foster genuine connections, much like the glass itself reveals glimpses of what lies beneath its surface.

As you immerse yourself in this artistic narrative, let it serve as a reminder of the human capacity for adaptation, introspection, and resilience in the face of challenges. Through art, we confront our past, navigate our present, and envision a future where connections transcend barriers, and masks—both physical and metaphorical—are cast aside in favor of authentic human interaction.

I began this collection in March 2020, when Coronavirus arrived in Italy and my mind kept conflating the past and the present. The Renaissance was born out of a nonlinear vision of time, the knowledge of the ancients entering the consciousness of 16th century Italians. I felt that, perhaps, the same thing might happen again centuries later.

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