Remo Salvadori

Locus Solus

In the middle of a room was the sign of the observer: the flattened outline of a camera tripod, made of three fused equal forms of cast bronze (Senza titolo, visione 6a, 1981–85). On the wall of another room was a small ring of steel cable (Senza titolo, n.d.). Framed by doorways, both these objects were visible from a third room. On the wall between these doorways was a large drawing of three colored strips—purple, red, green—interwoven in a vaguely anthropomorphic motif (Ecce homo, 1985).

Contrasting with these few absolute signs was the rarefied density of painting: a large work on canvas (Senza titolo, 1983) hung on the wall opposite the drawing. In each quadrant of the painting is a different form: the area at the upper left is painted to look as if the actual corner of the canvas has been twice folded over, revealing both the simulated verso of the canvas and what lies beneath it. In the lower right quadrant is a small gold disk. In each of the other two sections is a cup of different proportions, colors, and positions. The cups, foreshortened circles and semicircles, float on the rough blue ground. Three vegetable and three mineral colors, including gold, were used.

Each of the three absolute signs was indivisible, impossible to separate or penetrate: the tripod is the result of fusion; the steel cable, of interweaving; and the large drawing, of an overall inspiration—that of Rudolf Steiner. These were hard signs, their density so absolute that it produced a void; the force of attraction of their respective masses emptied out the space around and among them. It was in this space that the observer moved about.

On the other hand, everything flowed on the ambiguous, insecure, misleading surface of the painting that folds illusionistically in on itself. However, we were the guards of an imaginary engulfment: the evident concreteness of the chromatic materials, the gold disk, the clear geometry of the arcs, the correct perspective of the foreshortenings, and the precise arrangement of each of the four forms all allowed the static observer to become gently involved—the figurative observer of the painting. However, we were outside the historical time of signs unified by an intellectual regime. We were within the fluid time of internal relationships between different elements on the one hand heterogeneous and on the other homologized by the technique of painting.

The hard materials of the bronze and steel sculptures, the graphic rigidity of the large drawing, and the empty space of interstices and intervals—the place of real movement—counterbalanced the soft materials of painting and its extended substance, which yielded and formed a place of simulated movement. The large drawing and the painting faced each other, sharing the same space like two faces of a coin, divisible only by the existence of the onlooking subject. On the one hand, there was the “glance.” On the other, there was the “stare.”

One entered into this continuous interrogation—on frontality, on recto and verso, on viewpoint: this is how Remo Salvadori’s work unfolds. It is isolated work and, by its very nature, intolerant of linguistic fashions. Salvadori doesn’t seem to deny their cultural necessity but at the same time he moves away from them to find, beyond the noise of languages and styles, a sort of alchemical essentialness. Yet this essentialness is not fixity but rather a subliminal state of mutations and movements. It is a real flux, not a linguistic evolution, a continuous slipping of identity. The work is about the preparation of systems and instruments of measure for which what matters is the degree of sensitivity, not the degree of perfectibility The goal of this measuring is not to unify and link real data through successive exclusions and separations, but rather to offer multiple and complex fields of experience. The measure found always possesses its own precision, its own exactitude, like a dance step. But tomorrow we will be somewhere else, beneath other skies, with our baggage of memories. The lines blur, and we must begin again with ruler and compass, still measuring to know where we are and thus to imperceptibly renew our experience. Nothing more. The rest is noise.

Pier Luigi Tazzi

Translated from the Italian by Meg Shore.