Ancient arts of Africa, Oceania and North America
“The visible opens our eyes to the invisible.”
Over the centuries, the human face has fascinated men, imposing itself as a major medium of artistic expression. What better than a mask allows us to embody an idea or take on a new identity? From Ancient Greece to the Americas, by way of Africa, Asia and Oceania, human groups over the ages have privileged the mask as the preferred messenger between the world of men and that of spirits, between the visible and the invisible.
The mask transforms, enhancing and veiling as much as it reveals. On a form in wood, leather or metal, the sculptor redistributes the lines and planes of the face. The quest to represent the intangible, the elusive, constitutes an infinite source of artistic invention. The face is deconstructed, its features exaggerated. The creations that result from this come to life during initiation rites, social or religious masked ceremonies.
This exhibition highlights the richness of styles and the power of evocation of these faces from the world over. From the raw poetry of Papua New Guinea art to the Cubism of the masks of the Congo basin, the Surrealist mystery of the works of New Ireland, and the shamanic dreams embodied in the Eskimo arts of Far North, the mask reigns as master.
In a drawing from 1949, Max Ernst proclaimed, “Be careful: one mask may mask (or unmask) another.”
May you enjoy discovering all those here!
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