Former Léon Buki collection, United States, since 1962
Collection Galerie Mermoz since 2015
This captivating mask is a rare ancestral work, whose modernity is matched only by its age, and its simplicity by its expressiveness. It comes from the farthest reaches of Argentina and is linked to the Alamito culture, of which nothing remains, except for rare ceremonial works, among which are a few masks like this one, which seem very surprised to be here today. A candid expression that rubs off on the spectator and triggers an instant exchange of cautious glances between him and us.
What can we deduce from this singular treatment? It is quite delicate to say. One can perceive in the background the blissful amazement of the men of the time with regard to the immensity of the cosmos, populated by divinities and tutelary spirits who presided over their destiny. Moreover the aspect of the speckled stone is not without evoking, with a little imagination, a dark sky studded with tiny stars. But beyond that? A mask always has several facets. Without doubt the power of these unique works lies in this mystery that we can never pierce.
It is important to appreciate the aesthetic outcome, a chosen conception, common, or almost, to all Alamito masks, playing with contrasts and repetitions in an ultra-simplified space. A style with contemporary accents which will mark the artists of the 20th century in search of new forms of powerful, audacious, timeless, universal representations.
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