conceived and created for the Quadriennial in Prague, june 2011
installation by Romeo Castellucci
sound Scott Gibbons
sculpture by Giovanna Amoroso and Istvan Zimmermann
production Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio
In the obscurity of the crypt of the church of S.S. Giovanni e Paolo in Spoleto, one approaches a satyric mask that, in the recesses of its eyes and the cavity of its mouth, is acted on by a frenetic and deafening mechanical device. This is a Papposilenus from the Hellenistic period representing one of the oldest of the satires, he who despises the city. With a comic language Castellucci speaks of the human comedy, and with an inhuman gaze he rivets that which is most human. This heavy matter, the momentous bronze of which the mask is made, is contradicted by the rapidity of its gaze and its tongue: this beast-like entity sees "everything" and says "everything", bringing together all possible visual angles and every language of every people. The sonority that it captures and relays, while screwing up its eyeballs as though prey to an ecstasy or a delirium, is the fruit of a condensation of a screaming crowd, and the bronze resounds like a bell. The installation’s objective is to install fear, but a fear of that which the mask sees: us, the spectators, the entire range of our species, the spectators-spectacle. Persona, which in Latin means "mask", is our face-to-face with a siren, an alarm.
p.s. Persona, in Latin, means mask.