Space between the back of a mask and the face of the wearer
Michael Fliri, Homage to Natalia Pravosudovič, 2017
Since his earliest artworks, performances and videos, Michael Fliri (Taufers im Münstertal/Tubre, 1978) has systematically explored aspects of the overall theme of transformation. In his video work Der Schneemann (The Snowman, 2001), he transformed into a snowman and filled a room with polystyrene balls until he sunk into the balls, thereby blending in with the room. In Come out and play with me, Fliri assumed the role of a sheep, which is transformed into a pig and back into a sheep again.
Gradually, Fliri has used new forms of artistic expression, ranging from photography to sculpture and installation art. He is particularly interested in the functions of masks. His fascination with masks and disguises dates back to his childhood, in particular to public parades featuring the diabolical Krampus figures, who traditionally accompany St. Nicholas. Since 2014, Fliri has created a series of artworks involving self-cast (concave and convex) replicas of masks owned by the Mask Museum in Diedorf near Augsburg. His intention was to “capture the space between the back of the mask and the face of the wearer. […] I call the resulting small space an “action space”: It is given to us in this world, it shows the sum of the possibilities we have.”
This approach is also summed up by the title of his artwork in Meran/Merano, created by Fliri to pay homage to composer Natalia Pravosudovič (Vilnius, 1899 – Meran, 1988). Pravosudovič was born in the former Russian Empire, in what is today Lithuania’s capital. She received her training in Leningrad and in Berlin from Arnold Schönberg. In 1931, she came to Meran for a health sojourn. She eventually stayed in Meran until her death in 1988.