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Vanessa Brici


Never Smile

I was born with expressive round eyes and before I could even recognize my facial features in a mirror, I heard the lament, “You are going to get old too soon”.
People said this in response to a smiling child because smiles caused the skin around my eyes to wrinkle considerably.
Years later, during a very animated conversation, someone told me, as if they were offering wise advice: “Never smile. That way, you avoid expression wrinkles”.
I already knew that life could rupture suddenly, unexpectedly, during simple everyday tasks, and in no more than a second.
The “Never smile” series came from my realization that people are often deeply concerned with the evidence of time on their skin, but rarely perceive the fragility of life. It represents angst and attempts to escape the passage of time, and yet it objects to these feelings—my sonnet to the beauty of marks and imperfections.
To create each piece, I used a medium that allows me to handmake a thin, delicate skin onto which I transfer the images, forming scratches and wrinkles in the process. They were then digitized to create prints on archival paper.
This project required care, patience, and the ability to embrace the unpredictable as it is happening before my eyes.
Vanessa Brici

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