11R is pleased to present New Conditions, an exhibition of new works by Italian born, New York-based artist Alessandro Teoldi, on view from June 22nd to August 4th in 11R’s West Gallery. Teoldi’s practice encompasses installation, sculpture, photography, and textiles.
The series exhibited employs airplane inflight blankets collected by the artist, either through his own travels, friends and family, or from online stores such as Ebay or Etsy. The blankets, collected from different airlines, different times, and different places, are roughly cut and sewn together to form figurative representations of intimacy, seclusion, and embrace. Teoldi’s work grapples with the human need for community, closure, and comfort in a world that is dominated by the alienating forces of separation and consumption. The inflight blankets series analyzes the affective relationships that people establish with things and other people through the role of “transitional objects”, a term coined by pediatrician and psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott. Transitional objects, such as blankets and teddy bears, serve as an important bridge between ‘the self’ and ‘the other’ as developing children start to see themselves as a separate entity from their mothers.
Airline blankets, mass produced and embroidered with airline logos, bring individuals a sense of calm and comfort in an otherwise confined, huddled, and noisy airplane. In a transient period, soaring between two nodes of certainty, their softness and weight provide a familiar sense of home and bodily content. They transition us from a sense of discomfort to protection, from a naked public anxiety to a warm, private, consolation as they themselves transition from a generalized commodity designed for no one to the fulfillment of a specific, individual desire. As the person moves from the public to the private, from general to specific, the blanket follows suit. Despite being surrounded by others, we are reminded of our isolation and alienation; we employ blankets to replace a confidant.
In Teoldi’s works, the gestures of hands become a dual symbol that signifies shame as well as reprieve. In the grip of shame, we cover our faces to conceal ourselves; in a moment of intimacy, we embrace our loved ones to soothe them with a gentle and familiar touch. Recognition through touch feeds back into the materiality of the work itself -- rough cuts through the fabric, the layering of different textures, and the visible stress of the fabric as it wraps snuggly around the stretcher bars, hugging the corners, are a tantalizing reminder of the tactile nature of the blankets. We desire these qualities in blankets because we ultimately desire it in other people.
Alessandro Teoldi is a New York-based artist born in Milan, Italy in 1987. He received his MFA from ICP-Bard College, New York and a BA in Photography from Istituto Europeo di Design, Milan. He has exhibited in venues including Baxter St at CCNY, New York; Spazio Morris, Milan; Artspace, New Haven; International Center of Photography, New York; Art Verona, Verona among others. He was one of the 2015 Workspace residents at Baxter St at The Camera Club of New York. Curatorial projects include Each Evening We See the Sunset at Spazio Morris, Milan (2013); Collected Goods (2014) and Driveway (2014) both at independent venues in Brooklyn and Queens, NY.