Remo Salvadori

Pieroni Gallery

This show of Remo Salvadori’s work consisted of three pieces—a sculpture, a map drawing, and a book. The Pieroni Gallery had been structurally modified by the artist for this show, and the book contains a project showing the original, preexisting plan of the gallery and the successive changes introduced; the evolution of the idea is visualized in a series of drawings that develop gradually, with slight variations, until they coincide with a form that has already appeared in many of Salvadori’s previous shows.

The works were placed in the rooms of the gallery in a manner which created alternating rhythms of “full” and “empty,” and this spatial alternation corresponded to the pieces as well. The sculpture is a sheet of metal, loosely rolled to form one concave and one convex side. There is a drawing on the outer, convex side—the black outline of a tripod. The bottom edge of the metal sheet curves in a semicircle, while the upper edge spreads out into a more open ellipse, almost like a projection in space of the structural potential of the geometric figure. The solidity of the object is called into question by a sheet of plastic which wraps around the metal, but doesn’t quite reach to the edges and therefore defines itself as a separate shape. The metal loses its shininess, and the transparent sheet is overlaid on the solid, creating an uncertain density and depth. The intervals and interstices between the two skins of the sculpture, the oscillation between full and empty, and the refractions of the surrounding space all lend a sense of vibration to the work.

The object also reads as a three-dimensional container for space, and, at the same time, as a shiny, two-dimensional surface. If one face presents itself to the viewer as a hospitable, light space, the other is instead a closed, compact body. The tall tripod accentuates this impression of fixity and stability; it becomes the gauge of the space, a tool for measuring those points to which the sculpture, seen as open form, relates.

In the map room, illuminated only by natural light, a large drawing on paper covered an entire wall. At first glance the drawing appeared to be an architectural project, but the intersections of the curving lines, broken segments, and semicircles produce an ambiguous image. The precise drawing is contrasted with a gestural quality that undercuts the hypothesis of the piece. The marks do not correspond to a description of a real place, but, rather, to the visualization of a form that is both a projection of desire and an archetype from memory. The geometric and spatial abstraction is pushed to the limits of credibility, and is then eroded by the introduction of signs that exceed any specific notion of architecture and pertain to the realm of pure gesture.

This indefinite aspect is typical of Salvadori’s work. In previous shows he has proposed ambiguous works by means of plays of shadows, negated directions, and impossible dance steps. A sense of illusory form, a negation of the line that separates the finite from the nonfinite, and the use of transparency as a border between the world of solids and that of shadows—these are the components he brings together, leading the spectator into an area of uncertainty. This crossing over, from a world of given facts to a world of suspended judgement, creates the silent fascination of this work, which presents continually contradictory structural possibilities.

Ida Panicelli

Translated from the Italian by Meg Shore.