Masks

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Stefano De Luigi’s project on masks has been featured in Internazionale.

About the project:

I have noticed that, at least temporarily, the aesthetic is changing.

On the street, in the mall, on public transport, many of us are wrapped in this rectangle of fabric. A mask is an object that has brutally entered our lives. It is also becoming a subject of debate in some countries, while in others it is just accepted and integrated as a new part of our daily routine. We will have to deal with it, no matter what, for some time ahead.

Walking on the streets of Paris, I have seen that even a mask leaves room for personality, becoming in some cases an object of style, or sometimes defining a personality. The fact that two-thirds of the face disappears behind it is an issue that changes how we are used to communicating. Eye contact has become much more important nowadays. We were used to reading the face, and now we desperately focus on the eyes of a person to guess who is hiding behind a mask.

Masks in Western societies have represented the exception. We wear masks during the carnival when we want to be somebody else or masks are used by people not always respecting rules when they step in a bank, for example. Mystery is behind a mask, sometimes fear as well. A mask with a long nose, full of dry flowers, was used by doctors during the plague in the XVII century in Europe, so we definitely have a strange relationship with it.

Observing the massive spread of masks, I wanted to portrait this unique moment in our lives, producing simple and systematic work. 

A meter of distance, a ring flash and a single question for each one: How would you define, with a single word, the period we have just spent in lockdown? The answer is associated with the portraits. 

“Masks” is the title of this work that I would like to be a micro witness of this historical period.

Maybe in a year’s time, it will only be a memory frame of the dramatic time we are living now. I wanted a record of this moment for myself.