Salvo in the 80s: Light and Form

  • London

    Salvo in the 80s: Light and Form

    20 April - 20 May 2021

ONLINE | Robilant+Voena is delighted to present Salvo in the 80s: Light and Form, featuring landscapes and urban vistas by this influential figure of Italian modernism. 


Salvatore Mangione, who later adopted the moniker Salvo, was born in Leonforte in Sicily in 1947. In 1968 he relocated to Turin, where he became associated with the dynamic group of artists founding the radical Arte Povera movement. He shared a studio with Alighiero Boetti, and produced distinctive series of conceptual works, including compelling photographic self-portraits in the guise of different historical and professional personages and text-based pieces with lettering incised or inscribed on marble panels, or formed from neon lights. 


Following this intense period of experimentation in a variety of media, around 1973 the artist turned decisively to painting. Abjuring the aesthetic of monochromatic abstraction favoured by Italian painters of his day, Salvo presciently set out to rehabilitate figurative painting a decade ahead of its international resurgence. While his earliest works reconceptualised masterpieces by Old Masters, by the end of the decade he had shifted his incisive gaze to the representation of landscapes and cities.  


Combining bold, saturated colours with a naïve simplicity of form and a nuanced understanding of the effects of light, Salvo’s works distil real, imagined, and remembered spaces and places into metaphysical meditations on the passage of time and the psychology of solitude. Like Salvo himself, the artist’s uninhabited cityscapes and lyrical landscapes resist labels and cannot be defined by artistic movements, but instead offer visions of Italy that are at once singular to the artist, instantly recognisable, and utterly timeless.


Leonforte 1947–2015 Turin
City, 1983
Oil on board
40 x 31.5 cm (15 3/4 x 12 3/8 in.)