Agostino Dessì is born in 1952 in Serdiana (province of Cagliari) in Sardinia where the mask has a traditional importance as testified by the “mammutones’ mask and the “sartiglia” mask. Being a self-taught person he works with the typical local wooden masks, but contemporarily he studies at the Artistic lyceum at Cagliari.
Having finished these studies he goes to Turin to study at the Art Academy, where he has the opportunity to collaborate with the informal sculptor Prof. Sandro Cherchi. This experience results in 1973 in Agostino Dessì s first personal exposition, entitled Totem and Mask (Gold Square Gallery, Turin).
His purpose is to study at the best Italian academies, but when he arrives in Florence for the second year of his course, he finds the ideal artistic atmosphere in this exceptional city of art, and he decides to settle. Studying with the classical sculptor, Prof. Oscar Gallo and Prof. Chissotti, he will have the opportunity to develop properly the study of art based on reality.
After graduating Agostino Dessì opens his own workshop in 1979, starting his work with the masks of the ‘Commedia dell’Arte” and the Venetians paintings of the l8th century as for instance: Punch according to the paintings of Tiepolo, the Venetian Bautes reconstructed according to the paintings of Longhi and Arlequin according to drawings of M.Sand.
From this phase will emerge a new research for materials (soft, able to let transpiration through and light) trying out new papers and new glues. At the beginning ct the 80’s, always pulling his inspiration from the Carnival of Venice, he creates some innovating masks that will be very popular and followed by the artisans of the sector: the moons, the suns, the jollies, the elves, the satyres and Bacchus.In 1985 he collaborates to the realization of the subjects for the film ‘‘The Mask” directed by Fiorella Infasceli. produced by the Best International Film of Rome and RAI 2, the second channel of the Italian television. For this film he realized the amazing mask of the elf with the leaf, the mask of the fire, the Venetian Bautes and the mask of the Japanese NO theatre. During the making of this film the producers could realize the previous research in materials, their lightness and their resistance. Contemporarily and afterwards Agostino Dessì collaborates with several acting companies as far instance: Magazzini Criminali (Scandicci, Florence) and the company of the actor Peter Makal (Stuttgart, Germany).
During these last few years, Dessì starts besides the realisation of his already known subjects, a research on portrait-masks, which has its origins in the Venetian emulation tradition of public persons. With the procedure of copying from reality, he creates several types on common faces, reelaborating only the decoration and the cut of the mask. Thus doing he has developped several decorative techniques, using materials as fabric, lace, withered flowers and flowers in fabric. His work goes far beyond the mask definition, especially the multiple compositions with several faces become objects of interior decoration that can be considered as real pieces of art.
Since 1997, His daughter, Alice, has also been actively involved in their historic Florentine workshop, organizing "international mask-making workshops" (the last week of every month) on the practical techniques of mask creation, with courses open to anybody who is interested in and an enthusiast of this type of art.
personally Agostino Dessì, his workshop and his home, know how much this artist is seeking for
continuous evolution. Each object, especially when it’s antique, is an inspiration
for new subjects, techniques and chromatic choices. Agostino Dessì’s pieces are not simply masks, they are sculptures in