Scold’s bridle – a mask of shame. Iron bars woven into a «cage». This device was used in the Middle Ages and Modern times in Europe, it was put on a woman as punishment for excessive talkativeness, swearing, arguments. Sometimes such masks had a metal gag that would wound the tongue when attempting to speak. But in most cases there was none, for the main aspect of punishment was the publicity of denunciation, shame. Such a mask might, for example, have a bell attached to the top to attract more attention. It is a visible embodiment of sin. A proclamation that the one wearing the mask was guilty.
He who sees the woman in the mask is called upon to condemn the sinner. The paradox, however, is that the judge himself wears the same mask. But he does not see his own mask. The painting sobered the judge. It invites the viewer to penetrate under the bars. To feel what the woman under the mask is experiencing, to see in her eyes her reflection, her life, her experience. Each of the 12 figures is self-contained, their silence is a challenge to an inner dialogue in which one can be tender, sad, focused on something or be infantile. Being.
The dynamics of the image, formed from left to right, like a “snake body” that crawls across the canvas, disappearing beneath the drip pan as the cross on which Christ was crucified – the only point where judgment, the opposition of male and female, the masks of shame fall, true freedom is found, death dies. Each of the twelve is invited to the table, just as the twelve apostles were invited to share the Last Supper.
Small details occasionally make the watcher stop: nets, fragments of bodies, powdered sugar slipping off a sugar apple without getting into his mouth. It’s not just you who’s looking – from the depths they’re looking at you…
Sandra Koretskaya, 2022