She dressed herself in shadow and virtue, not realizing she was fleeing the loving regard that was undressing her. Or was it, perhaps, because of the oval eye of the lens that she kept herself from being completely naked? I cannot say it better than Joë Bousquet : She was an object of faith for my senses, in vain I approached her, I never touched her but in my wounds.
By Frédéric-Charles Baitinger
Behind each of the triptychs of Tom Spianti, we see twirling antics of the same woman-child. Sometimes a princess returning from the ball, sometimes dreamy and drowsy, she never seems to be conscious of the lustful gaze in her direction. Revealing her nubile, fetishized body— either feet wrapped in small ballet slippers, or round and allusive thighs— the eternally candid woman seems to play like Aphrodite while dreaming of being Mary.
But beyond the multiple elusions of her modesty hides the same gentle look – that of the photographer. Present without being there, in the moments he captures he tames the hysteria of the body-fantasy and turns it into tender banter. We not only see the woman who is shown here, but also the femininity that is exposed as she sees herself: naïve, worried, mischievous, or adorable. And so we see, spread out in threes, one photograph after another, the many metamorphoses of her whim.
Oh, Venus—always offered, forever promised. You must remain open to the complexity of your femininity, so that the sinful Eve may sleep in you, and gorge herself on a most erotic sap! Innocence does not in itself contain the grace of our subject’s character. Rather, Innocence must, in order to enjoy herself, comply with the friendly eye—the eye that can see within her, without succumbing to it, the possibility of fruit.
Oh, martyr of the photographer! Mirror of a world composed almost exclusively of women, the entire work of Tom Spianti shows us the hidden side of modern women's quarters. Like a Sultan contemplating photos of his harem when he is not there, with him we penetrate a fascinating and secret world, in a utopian Yemen where the Queen of Sabah invites us to join the confines of her Adamic East— where innocence and seduction mix and become fertile.
Translated by Cassandra Katsiaficas