#Justanumber Series/19

#Justanumber – African masks (2019)
Wood, fluorescent acrylics, metal pigments, gold-leaf and epoxy resin, dim. 56,5 x 87 cm

The mask, sign, symbol, emblem, or ensign, is the theme of this series of highly visually impactful works, with their sharp evocation of the tragic daily reality of migration.

Their numerical title, whose precision offers a counterpoint to the nameless identities they conceal, is an explicit reference to the countless geographical coordinates of places that have been the site of significant events, leading to a re-emergence, a manifestation, of what otherwise would have been lost.

Their material aspect is therefore just as important: through their metallic consistency and their encrusted surface, the artist gives both life and tangible corporeality to the memory of wrecks that have emerged from the depths, remembering lives that were tarnished by the salty touch of seawater.

Divided between a lower section, the submerged part, shiny and almost liquid, and a ferrous, coarse upper section, the composition of these masks evokes the duality of existence, and the binomials of sea and earth, life and death, without however becoming fully contained and limited by them: the work itself, thanks to its shape, is able to exceed the boundaries of the background, extending towards the space above and around itself.

The purposefully acid, fluorescent, harshly dissonant colours assault and challenge the viewer, becoming almost unpleasant.

These are violent colours, and so is the affirmation of the existence and life of those people who, having sunk to the depths, have found a way of manifesting themselves, making themselves present, through the innumerable, screaming eyes of a mask.

Patrizia Gelli
Storica dell’Arte

“Only art crosses borders. Smuggle it!”