Just completed this image to Ingmar Bergman's Persona (1966), referring to the convergence of Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann. The film has an extraordinary title sequence.

The Bergman Foundation's site includes an interview where he talks about his intention here to make a 'poem in images': "I reflected on what was important, and began with the projector and my desire to set it in motion. But when the projector was running, nothing came out of it but old ideas, the spider, God's lamb, all that dull stuff...". On the images of, for example, the burning monks' anti-Vietnam-War-protest: "At most I can read about such atrocitites with a kind of greed – a pornography of horror. But I shall never rid myself of those images. Images that turn my art into a bag of tricks, into something indifferent, meaningless." And "gradually the precise word I'm looking for comes into focus".


On the Bone, under the Skin

Plastered skulls, c.7000BC, from the Neolithic 'Ain Ghazal site near Amman, Jordan. The plaster-mix was applied to skulls, once cleaned of soft tissue, as part of a funerary process. The function was to preserve a likeness. It seems that it is the 'visage' which is rendered, rather than the entire volume, sometimes stopping above the mouth.

Cowrie shells were used for the eye, bitumen for the pupil. First saw and drew specimens in the British Museum. I hear there are others at the Ashmolean in Oxford.

Les Yeux Sans Visage (1960), directed by Georges Franju.

A toad's shed skin. Recourse to flatland, as seen in Edward R. Tufte's seminal Visual Explanations.

John Stezaker's Mask II (1991-2), via The Approach.