“The Children’s Hill” – Tami Suez: Photography – an issue of Time and Memory
Dr. Dorit Kedar
Religions, beliefs and myths, along the human civilization, kept searching for the purpose of life and death. Two main motifs often appear in this infinite search: heaven and earth.
Heaven may symbolize the Ineffable Divinity or Divinities, Abstraction, Eternity, Soul and Spirit, Time.
Earth stands for the concrete matter, physical phenomena, the ephemeral, all beings, Space.
Time and space are inter-linked. One cannot be defined without the other a matter is inseparable of energy, body and soul are one.
European Hermetic traditions as well as Middle and Far Eastern philosophies stress the error of decisive categorization and artificial divisions. These paths have a common ground accordingly– the more awareness exposes itself to the infinite variety of Nature (microcosms), the more probabilities it has to experience the One (The Divine, Macrocosm) reflected in the pluralism of the world or microcosm.
The great paradox is that awareness has to experience the motionless Eternal principle (The Divine or Macrocosm) via the dynamic pluralism of phenomena, characterizing the world (Microcosm).
Nothing stands still and therefore memory too is subject to the dynamism of life and death and is tinted according to life and death personal experiences and the psychological evolvement of the self.
Memory is an illusory and escapist tool, if there is a desire or an obsession to stop the flux of time, by attachment to an image or a chain of images, believed to have been occurring in the past. A visualization of a past event entirely depends on a dynamic here and now trigger.
If memory is traumatized by the past – past experiences might reiterate as a real threat I the present and harm the psychological adaptability to daily incidents. Any static and repetitive phenomenon is contradictory to the nature of life and death – Dynamism.
If memory is attuned with self-reflection and the creative instinct, past events may become productive links in an artful chain.
Tami Suez series of photography, taken in the kids camp ran by her parents, during her childhood, serves as an example for a dynamic here and now creative reintegration of a multifaceted past experience:
There are six main ways that the artist chooses to simultaneously integrate past events and present occurrences:
- Selecting an item of the past, providing a disharmonious context, altering functions meanings and interpretations:
An old faded blue toy fish lying on its side on neglected soil a dirty white sculpted cock entrapped in a corner, both toys representing animals of a powerful mobility on earth and in water if alive.
- Isolation of items and the metamorphosis into orphanhood:
A family room table covered by an old out-fashioned handmade tablecloth with family photography collection, a wall with numerous awards and excellence boards or a stunning collection of sport medals, an open cupboard with men garments – all stand still, witnessing the absence of the people who once enjoyed their presence.
- Close up, augmentation of size and a surreal background:
A golden ring placed among stapling gun pins or an old red whistle are exhibited as main compositional motifs. Both ring and whistle have since long lost their initial function. The one designed to adorn a man’s finger and the other- to emit a lively sound by children of the camp or their instructors.
- Juxtaposition of a representation of youth physical ideal and the menace of old age: The artist uses old photography of the Father, in his teen and youth years, fully aware of his physical abilities, sport skills and bodily beauty. However the ideal of youth and beauty is challenged by old age reflected by the image of useless old age glasses, randomly positioned in no-one’s land.
- Juxtaposition of Nature’s doings set against the urban:
Everything built by humans have to be permanently maintained by humans in order to be but Nature has its own ways of Being and Becoming. The artist insinuates the deep blue color of a might have been luxurious pool, an old wooden remainder of a might have been beautiful garden pagoda. Weeds and wild plants growing as well as the steady working of erosion, slowly threat to cover the still peeping joyous childish imagery of the past.
- A synthesis between the figurative and abstraction.
The once have been figurative objects undergo the working of time in space, converting them into a blurred non defined image and an equivocal identity. The artist chooses the thin line between the once existent and its gradual vanishing.
- The project of “The Children’s Hill” is managed and curated by Irit Levin. To read Levin’s essay on the history of the summer camp, the founders, and the works of Tami Suez please see: Irit Levin
- Tami Suez website: www.tamisuez.com