We live in multitude; we are a multitude, given the molecular and liquid nature of society. Yet, in each of us, there is always a buried anxiety to hold onto and develop our own distinct personality. The multitude makes us all equals, in a continual repetition of sameness, yet man has an inherent psychological need to feel unique and unrepeatable. And nothing is more unique and unrepeatable than a face – our own face, the face of our neighbours, the face of others. Not by chance, Musja, where you are in this moment, evolved out of the hundred-year entrepreneurial experience of the Jacorossi family, whose guiding principle was always the “centrality of the individual”.
From this stems the appeal of dialoguing with a portrait as a “face of the other”. The silent face-to-face encounter piques one’s curiosity about this person knowable only by his or her appearance as painted on canvas or sculpted in clay or stone. It calls up sudden, unexpected sensations, awakens and provokes some part of ourselves, brings to life a seed of interpersonal relations, opens us to the wonder of images that never close off or turn inward. Even more, it provokes the individual to seek out a dialectical otherness, which is also, secretly (far from the multitude), a search for the One. The face of the Other is the trace of God, as the philosopher Levinas wrote.
The relationship with these sixty faces is thus a “naked provocation” to the viewer. It is not necessary to know the authors; one need only interpret each individual portrait as interlocutors of each of us, letting go of any instant attraction or superficial dislike. Indeed, walking through a landscape of faces can become, in the unrestricted itinerary of face-to face encounters, a way of experiencing the multitude in company that never fails to intrigue.