Delayed three months by Covid, the latest issue of Alla Carta, the Italian biannual devoted to the paper form, is themed ‘Harlequin.’
Although planned ahead of the pandemic, the issue and its theme arrives with perfect timing. Just as the wearing of face masks is normalised, we’re introduced to creative reflections on the mask-wearing character of Italian commedia dell’arte tradition.
As the editors note in their introduction,‘In this issue, we wanted to explore all social, personal, digital, and physical masks, whether real or imaginary, but we certainly never imagined that this small piece of cloth would have defined these past months and probably those to come.’
Those small pieces of cloth we’ve become so used to are meagre functional things; Alla Carta reminds us how much richer, exciting and teasing masks can be. Here are a few examples from the issue, mixing the literal with the tangential.
Photographer Sergiy Barchuk and stylist Sean Knight shoot a fashion story based on the traditional Italian Carnevale.
‘Jesus Christ’ is one of a series of glass masks designed by Paul Marioni, known for pushing glass techniques to their limits.
The smart phone as mask: our desire to shoot selfies is highlighted by photographer Francesco Nazardo’s series of shots taken in Rome.
A series of works by painter Tim Vermeulen address his Calvinist upbringing. This piece, titled ‘Alphabet’ considers the many masks we all have to put on daily.
The issue closes with Anna Ademo’s shoot using dental devices (‘Apparecchio’) as props in a beauty shoot. Although less physically present than masks, anyone who’s ever worn braces knows that mentally they impact the user just as much as a whole face mask.
Alla Carta is always a rich experience, visually exciting and beautifully produced and printed. This issue is a particularly strong one, perfectly tying together its aim of celbrating both Italian culture and paper.
Editor-on-chief and Creative director: Yara De Nicola
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