Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Every face, every shop, bedroom window, public-house, and dark square is a picture feverishly turned--in search of what? It is the same with books. What do we seek through millions of pages?
Virginia Woolf

 Faces, how can you understand them? How can you want to understand them? Shaved, moisturized, clean, with a mole, a scar, or a scratch. How can you really understand a face? What is that makes a face such a special place of a body? I am asking because for me to “understand” a face means to understand almost everything in a person. I don’t mean the eyes, because, contrary to what is believed, eyes can lie as much as they can tell the truth – whatever that might be. Eyes are the most human visible part of our body, therefore the most elusive. Nobody can really “read” a person, because every person is the sum of countless mysteries and a mystery even to himself. But faces? How about the faces? Someone can certainly be obsessed with hair, lips, and breasts or feet, but how about the face? I always believed that the face is not just a random product of some splitting omnipotent cells; I believe that in the entirety of a face there is the personal history and somehow the destiny of a person and, at least, that a face is the sum of its past. Two apparently contradictory things united in the most public and most private part of us. Everybody speaks with a voice that he/she knows, but, at the same time, the voice received by the one who listens, is completely unknown to the speaker; here again the face is that place where those two voices meet. You can be silent and your facial expression talks and you can talk while your expression could be silent. So, again, who can understand faces if a face is elusive even to its owner? Weird to say that we “own” a face, since we are so used to believing that our face is just “us”. A face is a sum of stories; a riddle that for one person has a meaning and
that to someone else means less than nothing. Some people learn from others’ faces, some others learn from nothing. In a face you can also see, or imagine, a lot of things; it’s a world in itself and that’s probably one of the many reasons why the Mona Lisa is so appreciated: she is a “pure face” with a smile and that lets you imagine whatever you want. How much imagination can you put into the Mona Lisa smile? Can you read all the question marks hidden in a face? Answering affirmatively to this last question would be saying, “yes, I can read” but also “I’m alive,” because only those who are still alive know how to detect life, and the revealing oracle is always hiding in a wrinkle.

(Sergio Caldarella)