Salvo in the 80s: Light and FormLondon
The City, 1986
Leonforte 1947–2015 Turin
Signed and dated, on the reverse: "Salvo 86"
Oil on canvas
50 x 50 cm (19 3/4 x 19 3/4 in.)
This canvas shows Salvo at his most psychedelic. Artist and viewer stand at an almost claustrophobic crossroads, where four roads merge at an intersection marked by three buildings. Almost anonymous in their squared solidity, and set against a lapis blue sky, each structure has been transformed into a surreal landscape unto itself. At right, window-like apertures seem to penetrate into and protrude from the flat walls – but are they integral to the building or simply hovering weightless in space? At left, a lightning bolt flashes across one building’s façade but also the sky – is this an image painted onto the building, or some supernatural light effect? The arch and the narrow passage between two boulder-like forms that appear on the two buildings at left are suggestive of passages into other realms – just as the roads of the intersection lead to other parts of the city, might these be portals instead to other, perhaps fantastical, worlds, beyond our own? Nevertheless, situated at this juncture of this unreal city, the viewer is invited less to interrogate where reality ends and fantasy begins than to simply, and joyously, choose their own adventure.