Starting from October 10th 2018 you can visit the 4 rooms dedicated to African Ethnographic Art; here you can admire the beauty of the collection: statues, thrones, fabrics, drums, objects of cult and obviously many masks, expression of the incredible variety of shapes, colors, types and uses, bearers of meanings, avatars of spirits, controllers, judges and guardians.
The project was born with the proper idea of inform about the real function of these objects: “Meet the Oracle – explains Peter Matthaes, director of the MAS – through an evocative setting that refers to the Forest of Spirits and thanks to the use of modern technology, and specifically virtual reality, an attempt was made to have a possible 360-degree contact with the world of spirits” experience.
In the Forest of Spirits you can wear a mask with a virtual reality viewer applied. We will immerse ourselves in a forest where a spirit, in the likeness of a turtle, (this animal was chosen in reference to the mythological spirit Evu dei Fang of Gabon and a mask Ingil always of Fang) will follow and lead us to two possible scenarios: one positive and freedom, the other negative and imprisonment, reminding us that these masks also have a judgment function, that is to say, they are used to issue judgments.
Some of our pieces
Another new initiative is the “Object of the Month” . Each month a different object is exhibited and the public will be able to express their opinion. Crowdsourcing wants to be a step forward to change people perspective; the expert is joined by the community of African ethnographic art enthusiasts, a community that is more and more informed, more and more prepared and whose extension has fewer and fewer borders and can come to directly involve the African person, bringing us closer to a historical change of perspective. Art told and seen no longer from the West but from the Africans. A great opportunity for integration.
“We want to talk about African art to underline how African peoples are rich in history and culture – concludes Peter Matthaes – we want to underline the artistic and human sensitivity of these cultures, we want to convey the respect they deserve and the right to diversity ”.
The objects of the Matthaes collection have, as often happens for large collections, a very heterogeneous provenance. The objects were in fact purchased directly from Auction Houses, from specialized Italian and international galleries and to a small extent also from other Italian collectors.
Each object was analyzed by the museum’s laboratory through both scientific dating analyzes and a microscopic and often chemical study of the patina, making it possible to make a very careful selection and thus increasing the overall quality of the entire collection.
Authentic Art, the Museum’s laboratory, has been working for over twenty years to perfect existing scientific methods and to develop new methods for ascertaining authenticity in art and antiques.