Immediately after the death of an important personality, a professional sculptor would create a mold of the dead poet’s face and create a limited number of wax or plaster casts. The death masks would then be used (and in some cases still are) to commemorate the person both in public (tombstones, monuments and commemorative exhibitions or museum installations) and in private (kept by the heirs, family members and the sculptors who made the molds). They used to hire renowned sculptors to make the molds, who would not object to making some extra money on the side. So, the order of the deceased’s last visitors would be the following: the doctor, the priest, the sculptor, the funeral director. In this sequence, the artist’s role as someone with the skills to immortalize the deceased, is indisputable. Although the complex phenomenon of death masks is known in most civilizations and is usually associated with the hereafter, the above variant is specific to the secular Western society. Molding the visages of the deceased served mainly to exploit the deceased for different, carefully structured social projects.

Author of the cast: Svitoslav Peruzzi, 1906
The Society was founded in 2004 by artists Damijan Kracina and Alenka Pirman, and art historian Jani Pirnat. The members of the society have been active in the field of modern art since 1991. The society records, collects, studies and discusses domestic phenomena. Its scope of activity spans across the cultural, artistic, scientific, educational and research fields. Between 2005 and 2010, the Society presented its research in Kabinet, a remote venue which was hosted in the courtyard of the Škuc Gallery in Ljubljana. Since them, the members have been focusing on interdisciplinary collaboration with experts and institutions, which supports the development of innovative approaches to the research and presentation of relevant subjects. They place great emphasis on strengthening the link between modern art and heritage, expanding their audience, and communicating with the general public. Their first major projects were the research and exhibition under the title “Literally Without Words” in the Ljubljana City Gallery in 2010, and the international project Hard Facts (2012-13). A popular mainstay remains the “Unbound Tongue” project, the online community dictionary of vernacular Slovenian, which was also noticed in professional circles and has been popular among broader audiences.