“There is a kind of uniform monotony in the fate of man. Our lives unfold according to ancient, unchangeable laws, according to an invariable and ancient rhythm”. It was written by Natalia Ginzburg in 1944, right after her exile in Abruzzo.
Over the last year, it happened to me to think about this story several times. In those few pages she described a state of mind that in some way has characterized most of the quarantine time spent under lockdown. A time suspended between the anxiety of what is coming next and the memory of the recent past that seems to have suddenly crumbled. A time where the everyday life seems to be expanded into a new dimension. Days go by slower and are made of actions that almost become rituals to be repeated day after day. In this idea and need of a daily exercise is rooted the new series of twenty gouaches that Alessandro Teoldi has painted in New York in March 2020. Since last spring, the realization of these works is deeply linked to the months of forced lockdown in which our perception of time has somehow changed, amplifying memories and exasperating the feeling of loneliness. If on one hand, the images of infinite spaces (a night sky, an island that disappears at the horizon, the sea) seem to allude to the catastrophic stillness of isolation, on the other, there are small gestures and the abandonment of a timeless humanity, caught in a solitude that distinguishes the long wait. Alessandro’s story is made up of images taken from a personal archive, photos stored in the memory of a phone, where what matters is not so much the narrative element, but most of all the reconstruction of a memory which for the artist assumes an exemplary value in this digital era. This way we perceive an imaginary reality in response to the speed and concreteness of everyday life, which are temporarily dissolved, leaving space for the oscillation between those different feelings – immobility, isolation and evasion – that, returning to Ginzburg, is configured as a “story of hopes and nostalgia”.