I am obsessed with masks. Masks are essentially tools of transformation. They cross the border between the physical and imaginal realm by turning people into sculptures. Masks combine human with the non-human; images, materials, animals, plants.
Masks belong to an enchanted world. Many cultures believe that masks are inhabited by spirits. When a mask is worn in a ritual, the spirit of the mask possesses the one who uses it.
According to Mikhail Bakhtin the mask is “the most complex theme of folk culture. The mask is connected with the joy of change and reincarnation, with gay relativity and with the merry negation of uniformity and similarity; it rejects conformity to oneself. The mask is related to transition, metamorphoses, the violation of natural boundaries, to mockery and familiar nicknames. It contains the playful element of life; it is based on a peculiar interrelation of reality and image, characteristic of the most ancient rituals and spectacles”
Quoted from Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World. (Trans. by Helene Iswolsky. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984)