THE ROYAL WAY
Please share a moment of attention through my few words entrusted to the courtesy of Tamara. This event is called “A view of Italy from above”, but, in the case of Tamara, I should say “view from inside” because, like all great travelers, Tamara is an artist who moves to see people from very near; indeed, to probe the possibility of identification. Her exhibition has as theme the Royal Way which means the right way, the one that is, in fact, drawn from Art. Here the protagonist is Sicily seen through processions, those moments when the feeling of a past that looms over the present becomes particularly strong, in each of us. But, this past can be easily seen, at least by a layman’s point of view, from two opposite and associated points: the solemnity and the ridicule. Citizens who all become actors of the sacred representation are living and true but, at the same time, take on such important and worrying roles that leave those who observe them from outside mostly stunned. Do they truly believe? Are they really able to identify those people with Christ, with his torturers, with the people attending, accompanying suffering and exulting? Of course the answer is yes, and it’s not even that difficult. The collective suggestion is a verifiable and moving reality. And what does our Tamara see in her crisp, clean black and white with which she scrutinizes people from a short distance? She sees the Character and the Man so overlapping and indistinguishable from each other that they push us to seriously believe in an ancestral world that, in its total unawareness, walks along the Royal Way. Tamara Triffez dedicated and dedicates her life to this type of investigation. Perhaps, her most acute interest is Tibet, that tragic historical paradox that is the destruction, or rather the attempted annihilation of a Royal Way that, in the name of a misguided ideology, believes in the possibility of triumphing through elimination. Tamara, as an artist, opposes and always will oppose to any form of cancellation of the legacies which, although different in different parts of the world, are intrinsic to the very existence of the human being. From this point of view her Sicily and her Tibet are no different; and they are not because it is the artist’s approach that is the same. Tamara gives a sense of participation to those who look at her work. The sequence of images is taken from within the procession and it is not a curious look caused by the peculiarity or strangeness; but, in fact, it is the vision of a participant who, evangelically, does not judge but only looks. And by looking, sees the greatness and weaknesses of the world winding together, because together they have always existed and will always exist. Sure, the characters of the procession, in some extraordinary places as Piana degli Albanesi, are inevitable quotations of the great figurative arts of the past. The Weeping women seem extracted from the wooden statues of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the Christ that passes or the lying one seem to be created by the figurative Mannerist culture. But maybe no one needs to know this, not even the artist who wanders among the people with her camera. When she approaches, though, the crowds thin out as if the photographic act were a sacred act itself, because it sanctifies the recklessness of those who do not know why they are there and why they should carry on preconceived attitudes. In the procession everything has been already written, everything has already happened, but Tamara captures the expressions of doubt, perplexity, distraction, delusion, that show on the faces so powerfully filled with past that they result fascinating as they are. The photos were taken on the occasion of the Easter holidays, in recent times. But the date does not matter, because all this can always be lived, because it is very likely that it has never happened in the exact way we see it in Tamara’s photos. It is not a matter of stopping the time, which is impossible, but of portraying the emotions with a clear awareness that the fiction of art pushes towards the Royal Way. Tamara belongs to that group of people who see life only as positive energy, but her images do not emanate a feeling of unconscious optimism. The fact is that the artist is keenly aware of what they are representing and its implications but does not treat the people represented as elements of a hedonistic exercise. Despite the clear beauty of these images, there is never the feeling of an ecstatic stop, that seizes that moment as particularly beautiful or charming. The advance of the photographer in the procession proceeds, however, with the intent to make room within a world that could reject us because we do not know and perhaps fear it. We are afraid of hurting its ancient susceptibility, of not respecting rules that are unknown to us but obvious and granted for the locals; afraid of unintentionally disrespecting it, but only due to a lack of information. All these fears are latent in Tamara’s eyes but then exorcised by the strength of the relationship between the photographer and those who are in front of the camera. Precisely for this reason we get a sense of fullness and dominance of reason and spontaneity that, if well lived, could be good for us.
With my warmest wishes,