Pupazza-A story of emancipation?


What’s a Pupazza?

Whoever has been to Grottaglie in the province of Taranto knows what I’m talking about.

First of all Grottaglie is the place par excellence of ceramics in Apulia. A place of visionary masters, of true artists, who use clay and color to create worlds directly from the rich historical past of the region.

Grottaglie is a magical place for me: the works of the shops remind me of the time of Frederick II, the passage of the Crusades, the medieval disputes. East and West are mixed, intertwined, in an art rich, superabundant, historiated, colorful, saturated, baroque.

Years ago I came across strange moustached figures in women’s dresses, sitting on equally decorated horses of all sizes. A sexual duality that is not scandalous but intriguing, precisely because it belongs to tradition.

It’s the “Pupazze”.
Yeah, but what do they mean?
It is said that when the master’s right to the first night still existed (the jus primae noctis), a new groom rebelled against this ignoble law, disguising himself as a woman and presenting himself before the Feudatory to save his wife. But it was discovered immediately because he had forgotten to cut the mustache!
A really interesting story, made of complicity between man and woman against the possession of the female gender, and comes from far away.

I’ve been making a couple of pupazze not in ceramic, but with recycled objects and were exhibited at MAN in Nuoro in 2012.
The Pupazza you see here is the husband.
That is the man who has dressed himself, dressed up and embellished with great care. He braided his hair, he adorned his neckline, his boots.
Sure he forgot to cut the mustache, but we want to preserve the traditional history.

I’ll add a scrap, a detour to the story.
The woman, the wife, like a Romanesque sculpture, is hidden in her husband’s skirt and waits to take revenge with him.

The myth, the history, reviewed in a modern key? unfortunately not, given the events of black news that our country (as unfortunately the rest of the world) has been collecting for years, against women.

Let’s just say it’s a hope, to walk together, no one against the other.
Sometimes myths can make us think and change course, right?

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