Press Release

“I have already done most of my subject before I see them”

Ierimonti Gallery is pleased to present “Salvo: Io sono il migliore”, an overview of the work of Salvatore Mangione (1947-2015), known as Salvo, from the Eighties to the present.

Salvo carries characters and images of the past in a highly contemporary imaginary through his paintings. His is an art of description and classification, where the importance is not given to the emotional and narrative event, but rather, to the objective data. Nothing is left to chance, everything evolves in relation to the space and to precise rules: specific seasons, as well as various times of the day, coincide with different colors.

Salvo is a "figurative" artist who erases the subject in order to make space to the true protagonist: the light. A kind of light that is never the exact one, but exceeds the representation, becoming “the error to be attained".

“I feel like a mountaineer who has to look for a new face to climb every so often, because I know the other one like a back of my hand. I have to look for something new not only in painting, but in nature and life, too. Then I look around me and at a certain point I discover a forgotten theme and I have a go at it, which means I try until I mistake, because only then does its personality show through. When I am no longer copying slavishly, then I add my own flaw…”

Another essential element in the poetics of Salvo is memory: memory mixed with invention, without ever coming into contrast with it.

While the artist gives importance to formal details, he also draws from an underwater imaginary, in which empathy plays perhaps the main role.

“For me painting soon acquired a relation with reality, though always filtered by memory…At the same time it’s as though everything I paint now were a self portrait, as though it contained me, my history, my body, and so there is no longer any need to depict myself directly”. 


SALVO (SALVATORE MANGIONE) - Leonforte (Enna), 1947 – Torino, 2015

After spending his childhood in Sicily, Salvatore Mangione (aka Salvo) moved to Turin starting to paint and participating in 1963 to the 121st Exposition of the Company Promoter of Fine Arts. After devoting himself to copy great artists such as Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Fontana and Chagall, in the late sixties he gets in contact with the creative community of Arte Povera, with important art critics and American conceptual artists such as Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt and Robert Barry. In 1970 he presents at the Galleria Sperone in Turin a series of photomontages in which he replaces his face with images from newspapers. In the same period he creates a series of marble slabs with engravings of words, phrases or names (eg. "Idiot", "I am the best", "Salvo lives") and several ironic and provocative works mythicizing his name by using neon letters in shades of tricolor or by inserting his signature at the bottom of lists of artists and personalities of the past.

From 1973 he is back to traditional painting with his d’apres of the great masters of the fifteenth century (in which he portrays himself in the role of St. George, St. Michael and St. Martin) that are exhibited in galleries and shows in Italy and abroad. In 1975 he begins a series of “Italy” and “Sicily”, painting the names of artists and writers of the past next to his on the background of abstract and symbolic shapes of their places of origin. In the following years he tackles mythological and archaeological themes (in particular, remains and evidence of past civilizations assimilated to the landscape) switching to a painting of places. Since the Eighties his reputation was consolidated at international level with large retrospectives dedicated to him in Ghent, Lucerne and Lyon. Since then, his exhibitions have continued with great success in Italy, Europe and the United States.


1970 Torino, Galleria Sperone; Milano, Galleri Françoise Lambert; 1971 Parigi, Galerie Yvon Lambert; 1972 Amsterdam, Art & Project; Colonia, Galerie Paul Maenz; Bari, Galleria Marilena Bonomo; 1973 Roma, Galleria Sperone; New York, John Weber Gallery; Milano, Galleria Toselli; 1978 Torino, Galleria Christian Stein; 1980 Milano, Galleria Pero; Milano, Galleria Massimo Minini; 1982 Gand, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst; 1983 Lucerna, Kunstmuseum Luzern; Lione, Le Nouveau Musèe; 1986 New York, Barbara Gladstone Gallery; Zurigo, “Forum – Internationale Kunstmesse Zurich”, stand galleria Toselli; 1988 Rotterdam, Museum Boymans – van Beuningen; Nimes, Musée d’art contemporain; 1989, Studio d’Arte Raffaelli; 1999 Berlino, Galerie Dirty window; 2003 Tornio, Giampiero Biasutti Arte Moderna e Contemporanea; 2004 Torino, Mazzoleni Arte Contemporanea; 2005 Milano, Zonca & Zonca arte contemporanea; Milano, Galleria Dep Art


For press images and inquiries please contact: 

Christian Piscitelli | Director

+1 212 581 1619