The mask that has always been a combination of lies and revealed truth, sincerity and illusion, linked from the beginning to an exclusively ritual dimension, has maintained and transformed in its historical becoming that transgressive concept that is the basis of every form of masking. Queen of the carnival, where every distinction between actors and spectators disappears, the mask offers a temporary escape from everyday life, giving vent to the most repressed instincts, but also opening up new unexpected expressive possibilities. "Man is little himself when he speaks in the first person; give him a mask and he will tell you the truth".
Next to the mask, the disguise, which also allowed the people to express the need to renew their image and to subvert the established order at least for a brief moment. The Carnival allowed total freedom of expression and the temporary abolition of all hierarchical relationships, privileges, rules and taboos. The illusion of a collective transgression, granted only insofar as it is relegated to a precise and decoded moment, almost a sort of atoning ritual, before facing the rigor of long Lent.
Venice, more than any other city, had fame throughout Europe for its incredible and long Carnivals, for the most curious disguises, for the singular adventures and forbidden amours. The almost physical contact, which was determined daily between its inhabitants between calli and callette, courts and “campos”, the labyrinthine and mysterious urban dimension lent itself perfectly to this sort of promiscuity of which the mask is an ideal accessory.
The Carnival in Venice is an expected event and is the protagonist of the annual festivals that involve the people and patricians, in a transversal way and the careful use of the mask allows anyone to change their identity and social status and foreign travelers the pleasure of incognito and the exploration of another identity. And even when the decline of the glorious Serenissima seems inevitable, the Carnival erupts in an outburst of collective joy to exorcise evil and the mask recovers its original apotropaic function, just like when the sorcerer wears it to keep away the effects of the curse. In the XVIII cent. in Venice the mask was worn for over six months during the year and became a sort of utopian projection, the only possible response to a clear lack of renewal that would lead to the inexorable end of the Serenissima Republic.In our 80s, the Venice Carnival experienced a new rebirth and like a new Arab phoenix rising from its ashes to recreate once again that magical atmosphere of joy, transgression and beauty that only this city can offer. And once again in the cold days of winter we are all called to relive that carefree and ironic staging to represent ourselves and something more