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Sior Maschera

This is the title in the old Venetian dialect used to denote the masked carnival goer, disguised and envelopped in the bauta, the big black cape of Carnival. A character from a modern 'commedia dell'arte' (but one which is as old as the world), Vincent was a whole carnival wrapped up in one man. He owed much to Frégoli, the actor of a thousand and one disguises/metamorphoses and to Pierre Loti, the academician/navigator who posed in all the costumes of the world, naked included. And if he assumed the persona of Harlequin, it was not without the occasional red nose of a clown.

It was as if he was saying to us, through such mascarades, that his great aim was the creation of multiples. His fancy-dress disguises, his way of life and his sometimes ephemeral creations were in effect doublings, triplings, cascading multiplications of the most joyous, the most convivial and most extrovert part of his ego.

These multiples, igniting one after the other like rockets at a fireworks display allowed him an escape by creating new personas non-stop each more astounding than the previous one. It was a complicated game with a very simple rule: I am Another.

Jean-Michel ROYER

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