She is utterly extroverted, curious, and unique. Talking to strangers and meeting new people every day is her way of living, she needs it and does not let herself be intimidated by occasional weird and awkward situations. “Getting to know new people, new mindsets and points of view are crucial for my personal and — especially— professional field. I think of it like a bet, a challenge to myself, a social experiment. I must acknowledge that sometimes I insist so much on starting a conversation that I look a bit annoying,” she admits with a smile, “but those are the times I meet the most interesting people”.
Tamara Vizzardi always had numerous options ahead of her, as her family never insisted on a specific future unless the one she decided herself. She is currently in full personal artistic immersion and research, which began after the first lockdown in April. “Personally, staying at home from school and social distancing really affected me. I must be surrounded by people, it’s the way I am. In fact, throughout the whole lockdown, I didn’t touch one single piece of paper, pencil, or brush. But as soon as we could finally get back to seeing each other again, I became involved in my art more than ever,” and indeed she did. Tamara has always been close to the art world, and for a long period of time she used painting as her main medium. However, she has recently been experimenting with many other materials, such as gesso and metal, creating well-planned sculptures and installations. Nonetheless, it is performance or better, video-performance, which really intrigues her. “Performance is what I want to do in my life. Exploring the human body, the movements and dynamics allowed within these flesh and bones, delve into the meaning of pain and emotions.” Artists like Vito Acconci, Marina Abramovic, and Nico Vascellari are some of the many creative minds Tamara looks up to, seeking inspiration and insights for her own work.
We took a closer look at Tamara’s recent artwork which combines painting, installation, and performance. The first complete artwork — which can be seen here above — consists of a recycled white bedsheet hung up vertically, used as a canvas, upon which a human figure, with skewed proportions and a disturbing look, was painted in black acrylic. “It all started from my early sketches in live modeling class, in which I mainly focused on reducing the form of the nude subject.” In fact, Tamara’s hand strokes exude an interesting exploration of the human essence, avoiding its well-known traditional representation in proportion and perspective.
“One day I asked Margherita — our school model — to personally pose for me during class time. I took this big white sheet and hung it on the wall, making sure that Margherita could see my work as well. I turned around with my to back her and started painting. She was really confused at first, as my strokes didn’t follow the realism of her pose and body curves, yet that was the point.” Tamara explains that this project, which will continue in the future by including other people, is one of the forms of human interaction she is looking for. For the first time, Margherita was part of the process of the artist’s work, her emotions and her thoughts followed Tamara’s creation from beginning to end, making her part of an unspoken mutual synergy. A silent interaction, a performance in itself.
“You see, we ask models to pose for us, yet they never see our work until it is actually finished, until the whole work is done. The model’s eyes don’t have access to our process, only to the final result. But what if I could show what I am doing to the person I am representing? What if by letting her gaze follow my strokes I could capture something else?” She then adds that next time, she would probably enrich her project by video recording the whole scene, or perhaps the model’s face alone. Her confusion, questioning and finally understanding would definitely add to the concept, and would therefore be interesting to observe. The artist’s dynamic approach channels her raw emotion and inner turmoil, evidenced by the heavy black Schiele-like brushwork which reflects her artistic nature, which I personally find very compelling and empathetic.
She states that during the performance everything was kept as “spontaneous as possible”. I notice how Tamara’s art wants to move away from the typical common canons of beauty by brutalizing the form, draining it from its erotic, sensual expression and transforming it into an almost theatrical exaggeration. “Even the model, as soon as I had finished the work said, “but that’s not me, I am not that ugly!” And I found it so amusing,” she declares laughing.
“I am keen on getting to know my personal expression more deeply, to study it in a materialistic and practical sense. I cannot wait to change, to find new people, even when they have nothing to do with the arts, but who — I know — will inspire me and give me inputs for my own work.” Considering that Tamara’s art is so deeply connected with other people rather than with herself alone, I couldn’t avoid asking her if this dependency didn’t make her artwork — in one way or in another — vulnerable. “Every human relationship can be seen as vulnerable, I agree, but in the end, that’s the beauty of it all. We are humans, and we need one another. I won’t let the vulnerability of connection hold me back, on the contrary I will always try to enrich and deepen my relationships through my art.”
Tamara shows a genuine eager desire for connection, a commitment that in such a self-centered society is a relative rarity. “I want to stay in this state of motivation which I find myself in as long as possible and work as much as I can. Ekmeğini taştan çıkarmak or better, to make bread from stone is a Turkish quote I remind myself of once in a while, in oder to recall that with hard work great art can follow”.
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