Remo Salvadori

Remo Salvadori’s recent show presented variations on an approach he has been refining since 1971, the year of his first exhibition. While Salvadori, a fifty-year-old Tuscan artist who resides in Milan, creates work that seems at first to be an exploration of nothingness, each piece is in fact an attempt to reach something essential.

The show suggested subtle relationships between objects and the viewer’s gaze, between subjects and objects. Lente liquida (Liquid lens; all works 1996), the most arresting piece in the exhibition, consisted of a column, formed from a sheet of copper folded and tied by a copper wire, supporting a large copper disk that in turn held a transparent cylinder filled to the brim with water. The piece’s construction was totally precarious: the copper wire that transformed a two-dimensional metal sheet into a column seemed likely to come loose at any moment, and one felt as if any movement was liable to stir the surface of the liquid. But the instability of this simple construction, the possibility of its sudden collapse, resulted in an equilibrium based not on stasis but on active relationships.

Salvadori has described this body of work as “telluric,” and this was heightened by the context, as the area around Naples is itself always on the brink of geological catastrophe. His goal, however, extends to universal, not accidental or contingent, action. The gaze is the fundamental component of his work, and many of his titles allude to vision—for example, Vedersi vedere (To see oneself seeing), also shown here. But Salvadori doesn’t consider vision to be superior, or even dominant. His work eschews such hierarchies, demanding instead a certain openness to unexpected encounters such as the one between a sheet of copper and a wire in Lente Liquida. This results not in a transformation of materials, but rather in a system of relationships or analogies between objects that may at first appear to have disparate forms.

In the past Salvadori’s work has been placed under the rubric of “Inexpressionism,” a term, coined by Germano Celant, that enjoyed a certain popularity during the early ’80s. It is not, however, Salvadori’s goal to create works that remain mute; instead, he proposes a kind of metaphysics in which the ultimate goal is not the creation of an object, but rather the establishment of an intuitive relationship between the thing itself and its environment.

Marco Meneguzzo

Translated from the Italian by Marguerite Shore.