Charles Fréger’s series “Wilder Mann” examines the use of masquerade in pagan rituals and festivals across Europe. Fréger insists the series is not an exercise in anthropology, but a look at “animality” and the human need for myth. The origin of many of these practices are shrouded in mystery, though the impulse takes us back to the Neolithic. For millennia we have chosen to forego human bodies and assume animal forms. What if the oldest part of us is disguise?
At first glance the images appear whimsical, then a fierceness emerges. Costume, Fréger tells us, is confrontation. Here goat meets devil, hunter meets savage, and we meet our earliest selves.