The Mystical Puppets of Chris Piazza

May 13th thru June 11, 2000
Opening Reception May 13th 4-6 P.M.

Life size & larger than life size. the mystical & magical puppets of Chris Piazza are are often disturbing, in some fashion familiar and vaguely frightening. They represent some hidden dimension of realty, something out of the Narnia Chronicles. Odd contexts, curious beauty, enchantment at the periphery of consciousness...a thing we rationally know is not alive, but feel surely that it is indeed alive, and more powerful than the reality we behold every day.

The figures range from 3 to 5 feet. They stand in tall display boxes. Their heads are as large as the average adult, but their bodies are much smaller, creating a grotesque and unsettling feeling for the viewer, even as the elaborate costumes made of antique materials draw the viewer in.

The display cases are constructed of painted wood, each having glass panels on all four sides, below which is an elaborate pedestal and above, a similar capital. Each box mirrors or contradicts the concept of the puppet. The puppets inside their boxes suggest church figures on alters, mummies in tombs, precious objects behind the glass of museums, reliquary bones in jeweled boxes.

Chris Piazza draws her inspiration from puppets and automata of the 18th & 19th centuries...carousel figures, mechanical fortune tellers, wax museum figures, ventriloquist dummies, side show images, and more.

Chris Piazza has chosen as a fixed discipline the Italian Commedia dell' arte as a set of characters to use as a point of departure. From that point she ventures through many periods and styles and discovers archetypes for the inner psyche, a Jungian set of constellations of the secret, hidden self...ancient archetypal personalities which linger in all Western concepts of tragedy & comedy. Chris "finds" her puppets, her magical persons, in the Promethean sense. With the fire of her conviction she feels she is imparting "life." The viewer will concur that she has done just that. It is like being lost in the "fun house" at night when the carnival has closed...and the magic begins.

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