Far From Now

Exhibition: May 6 – June 4, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, May 6, 2016 | 6 – 8 pm

BAXTER ST at CCNY is pleased to present a solo exhibition by artist and 2015 Workspace Resident Alessandro Teoldi. In Far From Now, Teoldi transforms simple, everyday materials – inflight blankets – into intimate meditations, using a reduced aesthetic vocabulary reminiscent of both Minimalism and Conceptual Art. He addresses themes such as love and loss, legitimacy and difference, inviting viewers to participate in establishing meaning in his works, and to consider whose bodies matter. A kind of panoptical or Brechtian experience of that which is familiar.

I met a friend’s four year-old recently, and was promptly introduced to blankey, a well sucked, tattered and loved shred of pale blue fleece with threaded Saturn edges. Donald W. Winnicott referred to these comforting talismans as ‘transitional objects’ understanding that when the young child begins to separate the “me” from the “not-me” and evolves from complete dependence to a stage of relative independence, they use transitional objects. These airplane blankets, branded with corporate logos, whilst often scratchy, too short, vacuum packed and chemically cleaned, stand in for our ‘comforters’ as we hurtle across seas 35,000 feet high, in a no-man’s land, clutching onto the hand of a loved one or an iPhone. Today, charities will provide comfort objects such as blankets and quilts to survivors of disasters. This radical intimacy and concurrent separation from the known – the safe – weaves its way throughout the work. Blankets become statuesque objects, woven into abstract aerial photographs and lovingly stitched into family portraits. These tactile objects sit adjacent to appropriated screenshots from Prepare for Impact, a digitally simulated emergency landing iPhone app. Teoldi hints at the dissociative trauma of separation from ‘home’, raising questions of movement and migration, as stilted bodies scurry from an emergency landing, towards the intended ‘safety’ of a liminal digital space.

Teoldi left his homeland in Milan, Italy in 2011 to complete an MFA in photography in New York. A move that triggered many questions about the overlaps of culture, inheritance, family and what it means to be a fish out of water; navigating a foreign language in a foreign land. Bodies cuddled, wrapped up in airplane blankets traversing the seas between NYC and Milan. What is the condition of the migrant today? Who gets to traverse land, sea and border patrol? Why are we so prompt to move? How did we get to be where we are and who gets to have that choice? These are just some of the questions Teoldi asks himself in the show and like Adam and Eve (or in this case Adam and Adam?) cast out from the Garden of Eden, we are taken on an eternal journey of escaping bodies, in search of “paradise,” in search of another, in search of “home.”

Text by Bridget de Gersigny

Alessandro Teoldi is a visual artist whose work investigates the social and emotional impact that is part of any migratory movements by using signs and appropriating media from popular sources. Born in Milan, Italy in 1987, he received his BFA in Photography from IED, Milan and his MFA in Advanced Photographic Studies from ICP-Bard College, New York. His work has been exhibited internationally, including group shows at the International Center of Photography, New York; Spazio Morris, Milan; and Artspace, New Haven.

Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York is a 501(c)3 artist run arts organization. Each year, BAXTER ST at CCNY selects four emerging photographers living in New York City for the Workspace Residency Program, which offers them analog and digital workspace at the International Center of Photography, access to the BAXTER ST at CCNY community and programs, and solo exhibitions at BAXTER ST. This exhibition is the last in a series of four solo exhibitions by 2015 winners of the Workspace Residency, supported by the Jerome Foundation, theNew York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, Kodak, and FUJIFILM North America Corporation.