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"the Chelsea hotel series" 


One hundred and one original prints were placed on 8 floors of the Chelsea hotel during the winter of 2007/2008.


first part of the series stickyfinger (#1/10)

2007/2008: the footprints are placed at each landing of the main staircase.

In 2011 the Chelsea closed, only accessible to a few long-time residents, when it reopened in 2022, surprise! the imprints survived the complete renovation of the building, thus becoming a memory of the place.



A work hidden on each floor in the bowels of the Chelsea Hotel by the artist Aldo Caredda plays with bare hands and on all floors a tactile score questioning the myth and the trace. Hand games…


Paintings all over the walls, shadows sliding along the corridors, ghosts haunting the memory of the century and wandering between numbers that could be mistaken for those that are pinned on a door to be sure to recognize it , the living who dig into words so that sounds finally come out of them, others who cut into images to streak them with their unfulfilled desires, some who pitch and risk falling, some who dance because they don't there would be nothing better to do, and from the top to the bottom of the fatal staircase, again and again, bodies wandering, as if nothing were ever to happen there other than the continuation of life in all its aspects , the best, the worst.

We are in New York at the Chelsea Hotel, 222 West 23rd Street, which has just closed its doors for the first time in its history, that is to say for more than a century, since the walls were built in 1884 and that they became those of a hotel in 1905.

The door is closed, well closed and no one knows what will become of Chelsea. Another hotel? A luxury residence? It doesn't matter, since it's fingerprints we're talking about here, now.

One of many, Aldo Caredda has repeatedly stayed at this hotel. He quickly understood that the scent of desire, of desires, of the infinity of forms of desire, enveloped this place in an indelible atmosphere.

Love, sex, drugs, violence, death, births no doubt, first and last nights and so many others in between, it is from legend that these floors are woven opening onto spacious rooms in which so many celebrities have slept. What did I say ! Lived ! Sometimes months, sometimes years. Some, it is said, would still be there playing cat and mouse with the workers and the new owner to continue living in the legend of the century.

Aldo Caredda, he made one of his works in the hotel, and there is a good chance that, whatever happens, it will remain in place. Indeed, he makes his finger prints, white paint on a black background, each time the same and each time absolutely new, which he cuts out to the size of a fingertip and which he glues, thanks to his wanderings, in the most unexpected places. The places can be mythical, the recesses in which he comes to place his footprints most often remain unseen!

If by chance some of the workers discover them on the secret side of the pipes and remove them, it is undoubtedly the last living traces of the memory of the place that they will destroy.

Because each of these imprints, there are a hundred and one, as in the other boxes he makes and which constitute as such the work before dispersion, is not so much a memory as a memory activator, it is that is to say of phantasms, let us mean ghosts and therefore a little anguish and a lot of desire.

Yes, by placing a few of these bizarre shapes on each floor, by repeating this secret and operative gesture a hundred times, he has given new life to a stratum of the past.

He did see Abel Ferrara and one night, a man who told him a bizarre but true story of a painting hung in the hotel, a painting he had wanted stolen and which, having fallen during the night, had been recovered by the owner. and reinstalled above the desk, but so high that all hope of being able to grab it was lost.

Aldo Caredda, he, before depositing in the bowels of Chelsea, the hundred and one fingerprints, had during a previous stay, deposited one under the desk. The enjoyment of the artist comes from the idea that his imprint is as if touched by people who are nevertheless unaware of its presence.

Aldo Caredda's work is a metaphor of desire that functions like a metonymy, but which would remain eternally suspended. As one remains suspended on the arrow of the gaze of the other, on the needle of the syringe or the empty bottle, but also on the body of the other which pushes you back and calls you back, indefinitely.

Each time he left one, an imprint, he woke up a ghost, as if he had been touched by the improbable caress. And it is one of the moments in the life of the hotel that has been replayed, as the scenes are replayed in a dream.

The realization of this work is a silent concert. Each imprint is a note placed on the score of time and a kiss placed on the cheek of a Chelsea ghost. And who hasn't secretly wanted one day to be able to give that kiss to Mark Twain, Dylan Thomas, Jack Kerouac, Stanley Kubrick, Arthur Miller, Andy Warhol, William Burroughs, Tennesse Williams, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison , Jimi Hendrix, Patti Smith or Janis Joplin, to name a few here?

So. It is already time to close your eyes and try to sleep, even if the atmosphere there, forever, is festive. And in order to dive into the dream of the dream that dreams us, just listen a little to the words that Leonard Cohen, who also lived there, also left like an impossible caress on the skin of grief: I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel, / you were talking so brave and so sweet, / giving me head on the unmade bed, / while the limousines wait in the street.

The door closes on these corridors full of ghosts. The keys to the rooms have been thrown away, possibly in the Hudson. There remain, here and there, like animal marks in the forest of time, the footprints of Aldo Caredda and the hovering shadow of desire that envelops the night of dreams in its thick fog and a few footprints.


13 03 2012


(in All... magazine n°11)


magazine edition

July/August/September 2012

"the Chelsea hotel series"  


101 boxes containing 101 original prints each (2,8x2x2in)

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