Multidisciplinary artist, theatre maker, singer, actor, poet and teacher.
After the drama school, I studied at the Escuela Universitaria de Bellas Artes (EUDEBA) in Montevideo. I did my debut as a stage director in Italy.
I have been living and working in the Netherlands since 1971. In September 1985, together with Arie van t’ Hoog, we opened the Centrum Commedia de Maskers and Theatre on the Warmoesstraat. A space for exhibitions of visual artists and mask makers and courses.
Making masks and the choice of the right material
My first experiences with making paper masks and wigs took place in Turin (1968); later attempts failed to achieve the desired result. I was able to make masks for temporary use. I wanted a permanent object that I could use for a long time.
In 1982 I came into contact with a material unknown to me: stone cardboard, a handmade paper made from rags and wood fibres. The result is a light and strong object. In my experience this is the most suitable type of paper and very suitable for making masks and other objects.
I have also made masks from Balinese bamboo paper, Nepali and Tibetan temple paper and Indian paper. Now I work with elephant paper made in the Netherlands.
In 1994 I developed the Protomasks based on experimental work with teachers and students from the Nye Drama Skole in Copenhagen. The idea of this type of masks is based on primordial forms and the idea of the primordial gods. I have called these masks Protomasks because they are reminiscent of proto-beings.
Juan C. Tajes Art Space & Microteatro
Much has changed in this space in the last 15 years. After my own exhibitions, I also started producing small-scale music and theatre performances.
Many international artists have performed in Microteatro. We have also started collaborating with other institutions and 2 festivals have been created: Theater van 10′ and Inter.Nos Festival.