When I saw her in her coffin I knew that now she was gone ... To my dear grandmother.
In October 2016 Esmeralda Sandretti finally died after a long journey through Alzheimer's. Almost all of us accompanied her and the reactions were different in each member of the large family; some deserted because not being recognized by their grandmother was extremely painful, a totally justified self-defense action.
Others of us were a little closer and could be witnesses that she always inhabited his body; that we are not just memories, my grandmother in her last years was essence and body. His operating system failed and he was gradually eliminated, taking with him precious childhood longings, his youth in Chile, his new life in my grandfather's country, the faces, the names of his children, the grandchildren, he forgot everything. ..up to his own name.
In this photo he is no longer able to spin words, he only showed us that childish smile and the photos accumulated in dozens of picture frames on an old dresser where each member of the family appeared.
He spent hours in front of these now unknown faces that to a frivolous eye may seem like a ridiculous act. Seeing her remember with her soul was something really wonderful and this "entertainment" looking at her photos was one of the few distractions she had and that her children used to rest for a while. I saw her cry and get emotional with certain faces, I saw her go back in time until she became a girl, I saw her behind her pupils, I saw her saying goodbye to my soul.
This is one of the greatest mysteries that his experience here on earth gave me and that I will always carry in my heart:
How can a Being feel nostalgic without memory?
What inhabits us goes beyond anything we can understand ...
When I woke up I felt good, at least superficially, but as the days went by, a very strong flu began to appear in me; surely it was due to the loss of defenses due to the sadness that this loss produced. So I grabbed an A4 watercolor sketchbook, acrylics, pastels, graphite, and my spatulas to work indoors and in heat for the duration of the viral process.
Life and death were presenting me with a circumstance of acceptance of processes, of waiting for the cure, of patience, that I had to realize that everything has its time and that you have to breathe slowly to transcend. There were 23 pages and 23 opportunities to do it; starting from the void I discovered tears and while I moved my hand freely I ventured some of them. As if I were signing my acceptance to the loss, somehow deciphering the disease.
My chromatic language was not "sad", I used all the power of pigment and pastels; I did not want to get carried away by any idea of "grief" in color; so I adopted the colors that my soul was simply asking for in that August 2016.
The graphite slipped free and despite my incessant search for the abstract, I ended up discovering (as always) faces, some tears and mouths. It is that definitely in this lost battle my line moves; in this attempt I have found myself. These color-faded faces and "nonsensical" lines make up the "Duelo" series.
These plastic experiences, the flu that later turned into a cough and my grandmother's farewell as a painter lasted a month and a little longer.