Far From Now
Transitional Objects in Exile
Art by Alessandro Teoldi
Text by Bridget de Gersigny
I recently met a friend’s four-year-old child, who promptly introduced me to “Blankey”, a well sucked, tattered shred of pale-blue fleece. Donald W. Winnicott referred to these precious, comforting belongings as “transitional objects”. When young children begin to separate the “me” from the “not-me”, and evolve from complete dependence to a stage of relative independence, they rely upon such belongings.
In-flight airplane blankets, branded with corporate logos, often scratchy, and always too small, stand in for our ‘comforters’ as we hurtle across seas 35,000 feet high, in a transitional no-man’s land. Charities, too, will provide such blankets and quilts to survivors of disasters and displaced people fleeing violence. Though the conditions of contemporary migrants vary greatly, in accordance with variations in wealth, nationality, and legal status, their bodily and psychological needs are much the same; in widely divergent contexts, the blanket surfaces as a token of comfort for bodies in transit.
This radical intimacy and concurrent separation from the known—the safe—weaves its way throughout Alessandro Teoldi’s recent series of works created from in-flight blankets. Using a reduced aesthetic vocabulary, he lovingly transforms these simple blankets into intimate meditations on displacement. Like the biblical story of Adam and Eve’s exile from the Garden of Eden, his work evokes a mythic escape—bodies in search of “paradise,” in search of another, in search of “home.”
Publication Date: May 17
Alessandro Teoldi is an artist from Milan, Italy. Based in New York, he earned an MFA in photographic studies from ICP-Bard College in 2013, and his solo exhibition Far From Now was held at the Camera Club in 2016.
Bridget de Gersigny is a South African queer artist, and communications professional at the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. Her artwork has been exhibited internationally, including at the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art (New York), the Hessel Museum of Art (Bard College), and Spazio Morris (Milan).