dima
  • True Faith

    It was May 1987. My mother took me to a grove close to our home, in Calabria: after a strong and unusual snowfall, the branch of an olive tree was broken. In the wood, people soon recognized an image: the face of Jesus Christ. From all around the region, people started coming to see it with their own eyes. I was brought in face of the olive tree. Despite my efforts and the indications of the people, all I could see was a broken olive tree. At that time I was seven years old. I didn’t take any picture.

    In 2014, I began a research on the phenomenon of the apparition of religious images in Italy. Based on a newspapers archive and a collection of witnesses, I constructed a “map of the invisible” of the nation where one can record two thirds of world apparitions‘s cases. Following the cartography previously established, I asked the inhabitants to show me the place of the apparition: thirty years later, I was in front of the apparition again.

    The images appear on the most common supports: a wall, a tree, a car window, a lamppost, a gas pump, a door, a cave... Most of them represent the Christ or the Virgin, whose iconography has spread widely through pious images, churches, calendars, television and films. More recently there have been the appearances of a very popular Italian monk, Padre Pio, whose image has been codified in the last thirty years. The apparitions often cause changes in the physical space of the village: construction of walls to prevent too many pilgrims from reaching the site, reconstruction of the facade of a building, change of windows or doors, cut of trees... But community social life changes too: wedding dates get anticipated, people move wishing to live nearer to the apparition, relationship rise or break because of the jealousy produced by the image appeared on the house of one person rather than another.

    Where I keep seeing only a wall, other people perceive an event that transforms the the whole configuration of the village. By photographing these places where people tell me they see the apparitions, I ask the photographic image to become proof of an unpredictable fact, to become document of an event that will always remain invisible to my eyes.

    (With the support of CNAP - Centre National des Arts Plastiques)