Sandro Rinaldi’s mail art
by Maria Giuffrè
It is not easy for me to write about my longtime friend, Sandro Rinaldi. A painter and decorator, he is also a PR expert, fine wine connoisseur, superb chef, avid traveller, and collector of different objects – including vintage toys, many of which he was so generous to give me once he realized I shared his same passion since I was a little girl. Sandro has always cultivated his professional skills while also enjoying playful activities, some of which his father introduced him to; he extends perseverance, curiosity, and investigative cleverness to his hobbies, oscillating between the observation of reality and its transfiguration in fantastic arabesques, dense with knots of matter. He makes a special colored or white tissue paper by hand, using exclusive techniques, then skillfully crumples it as if to make its hidden soul emerge, giving a strong identity to his vision, nourished with color and light to define different paths within the maze of his never-ending imagination.
Sandro’s “mail art” stems from these premises, and indeed has embraced them since the very first envelope he picked up in a hotel room – he remembers exactly when, in Livorno, in 1963; after that, his project has continued to synthetize the original message on a smaller and smaller scale, expressing it faster. In the face of perennial restlessness and with a will to reflect shorter traveling times, “mail art” was meant to respond to the urgency of a dominating idea, with words and real or made-up stamps.
I have wondered many times, looking at Sandro’s works, how he chooses the images to transfer onto paper. How can he invent such fantastic puzzles, where colors and shapes merge and contrast like amoebas in constant flux? How can he draw feathers that seem to fly in the sky at every breath of wind, or play with colors and shapes to create complex labyrinths? I could go on and on with examples, thanks to his creativity and imagination.
The fact that Sandro continues to practice life drawing and at the same time searches for abstract processes is certainly at the basis of all of his works. His talent is inspired by islands’ charm – first and foremost Filicudi, where we meet every summer (and where Sandro and his grandson Antonio have the chance to prove their cooking expertise); the power of nature suspended between earth and sky; his attention for stories found in stones, pieces of wood and fragments offered at random by a generous sea, or in boxes, frames, and silhouettes showcased in flea markets; the many suggestions he collects during his wanderings, for work and for pleasure; the monumental excellence of his adoptive city, Rome, that he can observe and transfigure day after day, from the terrace of his splendid home in Via Bissolati. In particular, I remember a view of Saint Peter’s, imposing its geometric profile on the background, becoming the drawing’s protagonist while a few houses in the foreground created an indistinct and chaotic mass, representing the other side of the coin.
I don’t think Sandro’s painting can be described as a simple hobby, practiced in his free time. I believe it represents, in its various articulations, the true vocation of an artist who fully lives his existence.
Photos via: © Sandro Rinaldi