THE MASKMAKER

 

The cave paintings prove how antique the use of masks is and baffle us due to our insufficient knowledge about those.

However , "it has been demonstrated that all the human beings wear or have worn masks. These enigmatic and useless props are more widespread than tools such as the lever, the bow , the harpoon and the wheel". We are aware that masks have been present in the noblest and in the most despicable events of human civilization , in the most beautiful and in the most terrible ones. They have been with us at our loving dances and the expiating ones , at births , initiation rites , wars , parties and funerals.

Masks have protected and attacked us , they have scared us and we have also frightened ; we have laughed and cried , we have become gods and demons, spirits of the forest and animals , we have received messages and we have spoken trough them as well.

Today it is very difficult to understand the significant importance and power that the mask has exerted and still exerts upon the primitive cultures.

Having abandoned masks , we forgot most of our social memory. We have forgotten the difficult interrelation between men and their fears, questions, desires, needs and obligations, for which the mask has been a true dynamic speaker.

In fact , we no longer resort to the mask performance to demand for rain , fertility or the peace of our dead ; we no longer light fires to stop the death of the sun and we cannot dance to placate gods´passions … probably because , as we are modern men , we don't need gods any more and distrust our passions more and more.

But the fact is that whenever we feel captivated by that which is hidden , whenever someone is willing to play in this game of illusions and whenever someones tries to meet "the other", masks will surely be beside us.


Jorge Añón

 



Although I´ve been captivated by masks for 15 years ´work , fortunately , I´ve never felt like their prisoner ; on the contrary , very often masks have let me free from hesitations, fears, joys and lapses of silence , all of which I´ve been able to demostrate through them.
In spite of being investigating the mask from different theoretical and practical points of view , experimenting with diverse materials and structures such as metals, paper , latex , resins , wires, barks , cloth , etc. and despite each mask should be built with the stuff which best represents its special energy , the extraordinary nobility of leather is what deserves my preference. As I specially hope masks always may be used , multiple factors inevitably determine their design , weight , sight , breathing , heat , elasticity , structures , paintings , etc.
Our masks fit face and use and are not very affected by water or sweat. The gradual method of hammering a piece of 1mm. thick good cow leather lets elasticity and softness match with the strength of plywood in the "key" points of the mask. Like a good pair of leather shoes, our masks will surprise you for their quality and strength and they are ideal for players or people taking into account that their relation with a mask goes beyond a night of fantasy.
As an artisan , I feel the essencial need of putting on each of the masks a thousand times, trying them on , feeling them , listening to them and enjoying them and , though I´m not a stage actor , I often take part in different performances in wich I have a lot of fun. Acting with a pig mask is one of my favorite performances because I roll around on mud and (I must confess it) feel extremely happy.

 


                                   This mask has been used for over 10 years , having participated in countless events . After getting dirty with mud , it is washed with running water ; then it is dried and slightly polished or greased.

 

 

Jorge Añón

Born in Montevideo (Uruguay) on 20 august 1954.

Self-taught.
Since 1968 he has been participating in a variety of exhibitions in different parts of the world , investigating different techniques, specially the leather and metal ones. At present he is devoted to leather masks and sculptures manufacture , ornaments and equipment.

As a mask gold-silversmith , he also uses make -up as a method and research of different structures and an unavoidable complement of the mask; he has worked for many theater companies, including the "Comedia Nacional"..
He took part in the realization of several videos ("La BCG no engorda" , "Mamá era punk" , etc.)
and made his own experimental videos.