The apotropaic (warding off evil) mask from Seminara can be distinguished by its horns, wide eyes, mustache, and screaming mouth with its tongue sticking out. The masks are finished in enormous wood fired kilns, which adds an uncontrollable twist to the features and colors rendered by the artisan’s hands—the final touch in their fierce and imperfect beauty. The demonic aspect of this mask is manifested in order to be expelled, bringing serenity to the owner and ridding the home of negative energy. Giovanni De Francesco takes an idiosyncratic approach to the traditional mask, aiming not for verisimilitude but for a rough impression of the volumes of the face. Using sculptural gestures to shape the clay, he accentuates the fundamental geometry and makes the shapes more grotesque.
Incense can also be placed within TA RA TA TA’s ceramic jaws for ritual burning. This function alludes to a specific variation of the typical mask in in the form of a chimneypot: with smoke pouring out of its mouth and eyes, the mask would appear much more ferocious—and thus even more powerful.
Dimension: approximately 32H x 25W x 10D cm
Material: 100% mediterranean terracotta clay
Technique: 100% handmade in Italy
Each handcrafted TA RA TA TA Seminara mask is unique. Picture on an indicative basis.
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Giovanni De Francesco (Bergamo 1976), lives and works between Milan and Paris. He is a visual artist dedicated to sculptural installations through the use of plastic materials, photography, video, painting and sound. Since 1997 he has taken part in many personal exhibits as well as collective ones. He an artistic consultant at the Luisa delle Piane gallery in Milan and is a founding member of the Monstera theatre company. He occasionally collaborates with Andre Branzi and is an honorary member of the Onlus Atelier dell’Errore.
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