Michael Frassinelli-PianoSculptures
Introduction to the Exhibit
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This exhibit is divided up into four major types of objects: masks, common objects, ceremonial objects, musical instruments. These delineations are somewhat limiting, as many of the objects take on the properties of two or three of these classifications. A fifth classification comes from the Pianistas themselves. Sculpture was a native word that is difficult to interpret, but can be loosely translated as "without any particular use."

The Pianistas were very prolific, but an accurate history of their culture and an interpretation of the true meaning of these objects can only be guessed at, for there was no written language. It should be noted that Pianista artifacts in the past were variously thought of as primitive crafts, cult objects or other. Documentation by collectors was either non-existent, misleading or completely fabricated. The objects themselves may have be altered by misguided museum workers and authentication is often difficult.

We show the works with catalog notes, and whenever possible, try to reconcile early theories and observations with a contemporary eye, especially in light of recent research. Please enjoy the exhibit and feel free to touch any of the objects unless otherwise noted or inherently dangerous. To use an old Pianista saying, you should move through the exhibit (and life) "slowly, with feeling."

The Pianoforte

Pianista objects circa 1912

Detail of strings and hammer mechanisms

Objects found within the Pianoforte

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The Pianoforte had many uses.