17′ BETWEEN Nadia and I

 

Letter to Nadia Comaneci, August 2016

 

Dear Nadia Comaneci,

Once again you have awakened my childish desire to powder my hands with cornstarch and move to the emptiest place of this house, look attentively far away and jump with surrender. Jumping on the spot seems almost the only option, given the reality of never having learned to execute your impecable gymnastic exercises that I dreamed of when I was a kid. I always paid special attention to gestures and made firm and graceful landings, proudly showing the ending of my Olympic floor exercise to an imaginary audience in my living room.

Today I am back to observe your quiet presence, your graceful body, with exquisite measurements of strength and elasticity. A clear and understandable body, sliding across the surface on the tatami floor. And I reflect: What has happened to Artistic Gymnastics nowadays? What happened to the bodies? What is required of a body in 2016? What is expected of any body today?

Gymnastics of 2016 have changed, it seems as if the bodies have acquired a rhythm marked by capitalism. Bodies are faster, with almost no time left for detail. Legs and arms seem swollen due to stress. The world of Gymnastics is adapting well to the voracity of our system… I am sorry, I still choose Nadia and her expanded movements over time, which allow us to perceive and look at each one of her gestures with no stress.