many major critics:
Benincasa, Bilardello, Caramel, Cherubini, Civello, Costantini,D’Amico, De Candia, Di Genova, Fagiolo Dell’Arco, Frazzetto, Gerbino, Gigliotti, Grasso, Gualdoni, Guzzi, Nerli, Lambertini, Portoghesi,Selvaggi, Simongini, Sinisgalli, Trombadori, Verdet.
Matter and shape in Salvatore Provino's painting
(Escape from the grance)
The works of Salvatore Provino represent for a audience not acquainted to the canons of western art an important synthesis of a century that has seen the rebirth of painting. His work binds into an expression among the most original of the last decades, the glance in which the western culture has learned to direct towards painting and in generally towards the visual representation of the world and of art. Thus the prolific paradox of mosto of the 20th century's painting, denying all traditional models of vision, becomes the nucleus (paradoxical as well) of Provino's painting. The escape from the glance, or the metaphor of the glance, affirms itself as the intellectual code of art that continues to be an art of vision, although it trys to avoid its laws.
Since the human glance and it's particular reproduction (or reduction) of the world, orphan of the centripetal force that assured the invention of the prospectives stopped giving a form to the fantasy of vision and illustration, painting had to question itself about its own language and paradox.
Since the light cone of the eye was no more a formal model or methaphor projection of the pictorial composition, painting was always concentrated to question itself about the material instruments, on the colors and lines that cover the canvas. As Kandinsky proved, the innovation that followed the abstract art revolution, consists in the restriction of pictorial language on the boundary of our formal foundations: the artist that cannot describe no longer a landscape or a life scene re-.invents painting, modulating the forms with his language and instruments. That is how modulation gets to know the world and itself. It is for that reason that Provino's paintings get acquaintance to the conglomerate of his points the consistency of his colors on the surfaces that at once restrict conventionally the space of his speech. But what makes the research of Provino unique is that his art work free from figurative temptations and metaphorical inventions, searches to formulate an internal discourse inside painting, using it's own material substance. His paintings are infact covered with concrete thickness of chromatic material urging on the language of painting, searching for logical foundaments from the material consistency: that means the color and the corporal action of painting. That is how Provino's painting reveals it's philosophical interest. The hand of the artist, with patience and precision forces an idea, a concept to a form, a sign for a color.
Every one of his paintings receives its source from a super-imposition of sign and color sediments, torn from other supports. The essential component of his paintings, with innumeral layers of color, layer after layer, pigment after pigment, releases its intimate meanings. But the proceeding of super-imposition seems to have no ending, and in order to not loose the potentiality of the dried up color, almost to remind that with the gesture of continuous pressure that the extreme economy of painting cannot trascend the material of its own language the residual of pigments that these surfaces did not yet give in, they are layed out again like new lines, signs on the surfaces. Therefore Provino's painting neglecting the forms of the glance, builds like the opportunity of plastic configuration, or better yet, like a possibility of a form of the materialthru the layers of color, considering his capacity of density. In this art work its the material that reaches the possibility to express itself and its own shapes, the abstraction of an idea. This is the deep reason of plastic abstract art, in which he lands. Even if the signs that plow thru his canvases allude continually to the contradiction of modern western art: to contain in a form the shapeless world that surrounds it, that is how these signs have the double nature of an addition of thickness (and of meanings) and a crack on the layers or color.
The repeated gesture of the artist seem to reveal how all these paintings remind us that the choice of a form in art as in life are a necessary and painful action.
The choice of living the matter exclusively as a shape, and the shape exclusively thru the pictorial matter doesn't mean to limit the act of painting in the universe of its own identity, because every dot, every grain of color, however trapped in the prison of its own absolute identity, is not dispersed in disorder. Nevertheless, paradoxically, it is condensed and reconfigured into a shape. A shape that although breaking the pictorial fiction of the glance and of the delimited surface of its beam is never the adhesion to the informal, it is the determined affirmation of a rigorous order, althoug different from the rest of the vision models.
And maybe this is the reason of the glances getaway, the escaping from a cognitive humanistic and anthropocentric paradigm (the illusion of the glance and the perspective has constituted for centuries one of the pivots of knowledge and of western way of thinking) dosen't mean the denial of painting, but on the contrary the re-affirmation of the congnitive potentialities to change the paradigm. However the challenge that is presented to contemporary art today is to semantise again, to give new opportunities to the significance to the forms, to the language and to protocols in which it acquires the world and itself. Breaking the cultural pattern of the visual insinuates to new forms of interaction, new dynamics of dialogue between the glance of the spectator and the art work, which will be measured inevitably in a new territory of non-identity.
And maybe, in a world marked by the process of global communication, art may win its challenge if it succeeds to create and recognize new occasions of non-identity, of distance and alterity.
Therefore for Provino, painting remains an irreplaceable way of expression and of artistic creation, because in a world fascinated by integral virtuality, and so uncapable of illusions, it continues to be an occasion to propose, without mediations, the great vitality and semantic accessibility of the material, free from the burden and from the language game, can confirm its force of contingency, of disorientation, and of illusion. Its in this opportunity that the material can be material, to reveal its own estrangement to the projection to a glance and to a human thought, but also the willingness to reconfigure in a future possibility. This vocation to the future gives to the human intellect the sightless painting of Provino. Painting that while closing the eyes can evocate the shapes of the material or reveal the material of the shapes.
The sedìments of matter.
Or the “glance from inside” of Salvatore Provino
lt is always difficult to realize by which means modem painting knows. Each one of its languages, unique and irreducible to an ideal koine, requires a preliminary mental hazard, to trace the map of the “objects” that compose its aesthetical horizon. Thus, fixing the boundaries still contained in the cone of light of the glance was the concern for much of the art of the Twentieth Century, at least since the human glance, orphan of the centripetal force of prospective, never ceased to mould the desires and the anxieties of figuration. Salvatore Provino’s painting, which refuses the metaphor of sight, knows of being a painting without a glance. However, the emptiness ieft by this absence, though not lacerating, does not recompose itself by a light-hearted happiness of painting. The abstract and full-bodied rigour that models his compositions appears as the extreme consequence of a giance made impossible; that glance irreparably turned backwards, to which the Angelus Novus, the weIl-known watercolour by Paul Klee, alludes. Walter Benjamin who knew how to grasp its power of suggestion, commented that this painting «shows an angel iooking as though he is about to move away from something he Is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth Is open, his wings are spread. This Is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and huris it in front of his feet».
Modem painting is as Klee’s angel; it fixes its OWfl Iook on something that is far away in time and space and that Is not accessible but as a fragment, a wreckage, a ruin. lt moves to the future while its tace is turned towards the past; prevented to uve the enthusiasms of the former and incapable of enjoying the intuited plenitude, though Iost, of the latter.
Provino’s paintings (although not only his, obviously) arise from the assumption that such condition Is the uneludible horizon of painting. The experience of the world is not contained anymore in the limited circle of signification and life does not identify itself any longer to the progressive and vertical line of a single truth — «I start from complete darkness...» confessed Provino once. The sky’s vault is torn; painting cannot entrust itself, in the darkness of night, to the dim light ot the moon or of the stars. The languages of art and the sensitive experience of the world stop, at a certain extent, enlightening each other. Therefore, the heuristic metaphor of the glance falls and painting tumns towards the instruments of its own language — the contrary would be a mystification. As Michel Foucault observed «resembiance and signs have dissolved their former alliance», language now «breaks its long-time relationship with things». Art signifies from inside its own languages, which can only eradiate weakly to the outside of the world; while only the fragments and the reflections of the «things», shatters of a broken mirror, remain accessible.
Yet, in Provino’s canvases, even the fragments are eradicated; of the wreckage oniy the “cumulus” remain. The world that nourishes his painting is eroded; reduced into corpuscuiar maffer, crumbled into the grain of each of its mmimal components. The «catastrophe» from which painting arises is not consistent any more, just as the sand that restricts the thickness of existence; sand that is at the same time measure of the world and measure of painting. Therefore, Provino’s art, though always tumned towards its own language, does not forget the tangible datum; still, his universe has by now the shape of the corpuscle of matter. In fact, in his compositions every residual of objectivity is reabsorbed into the dust-like materiality of colour; the space of the painting Is limited exclusively by the overlaid strata of the pictorial matter; signs, marked over the sediments of desiccated oils, escaping and rejecting the traditional optical grip of a cone of light projected from the outside. The world itself is reduced to the sediment of the materical language of painting. Or even better, painting discovers the world now contained in the sediments of its own language. Yet, colours signify, above all, colours or even the pigments that compose them; and signs signify signs or even the gesture that has traced them. The language of painting, for preserving its signification, cannot do otherwise but fo identify itself to the materical elements that determinate it. That’s why, in Provino’s canvases, the glance is not completely eradicated but shapes itself into the tautological form of an identity, the materical identity of painting. lt’s a glance from inside of painting, and also of seeing.
Provino’s painting conserves the modem tension of the philosophical enquiry: the formal means fold into the search for signification; the re-composition of an aesthetical universe is still an effort of truth. And yet this philosophical feature is due to the choice of handing painting to its own universe of tenacious “craft”, both concrete as abstract, where the painter’s hand compels, with patience and precision, an idea or a concept into a shape, a sign, a colour. However, a colour, a sign, a shape can also grow to be a concept or an idea. The formalisation, necessary for every aesthetical object to signify, is defined in the concrete practice of painting, and not in an easy conceptual reduction of the world. Each one of his works is born from the arduous overlaying of signs and colour stratum “torn off” from other supports. Layers of colour that were previously spread and left to dry on other surfaces and imprinted, one on the top of the other, on the canvas (of which tactile granularity is typical of the techniques of decalcomany). The remainders of pigment that these surfaces did not print are pressed once more, with a dry point, above the already overlaid colour. The signs so acquired assume the double nature of an addition of thickness (and signification) and of an incision on the sedimented crust of colour; that is, of the subtraction of signification through the impression of another one. it’s now that the agglutinating and repetitive gesture of the artist seems to allude and to reveal the apory of painting; every addition is also a mutilation; every superimposition of colour is also an incision in the flesh of the materical painting. Every language saying exhausts the potentiality of the sayable; every shape, creating itself, excludes the other infinite number of shapes. The truth of “being” denies the existence of innumerable truths. To express this antinomy with plastic evidence is not a work of simple virtuosism for a painting that has abolished figuration. it means, in fact, to assume as a prioritary formal metre the epistemologicai knot that imprisons the aesthetical universe of contemporary art. And therefore, affirming the choice of a shape even inside a universe that oscillates from the informal foolishness of chaos to the iconic flimsiness of the stereotypical and consumed images used by the hypermediatic culture. The extreme rigour of Provino’s art is measured in this aspiration of signification, already “condensed” in the creation of a “technique” that the painter enhances and defines through experience — of other artists, obviously.
So, it’s in the technique, in the choice of a formal medium, that the signification of Provino’s art is expressed. Tempted in the past by the psychological excavation (as Bacon’s influence and the poetics of deformation reveal) by the geometrical conceptualization (as the interest on Lobacevskij’s geometries demonstrate) the central question of his painting seems to always be the incessant definition of the possibilities of the shape. A shape that is generated by the immediacy of the gesture, as it is in action painting, — and still before, in the extemporaneous manifestations of Dadaism and Surrealism. Yet, it isn’t casualty or dissipation that prevails but a true economy of the sign and of the pictorical substance. Nothing is lost from the material of construction of the painting, the desiccated layers of colour — as a secret reverence towards the pigments, towards that matter subtracted from the matter of the universe. Every dot, every “grain” of colour, even if confined in the prison of its own absolute identity, is not dispersed in disorder. On the contrary, in Provino’s paintings, paradoxically, everything seems to be condensed into a shape; a shape that became, in mature works, the exclusive quality of the painting’s space, which struggles to recover the capacity to signify breaking the “pictorial fiction” of the glance and of the limited surface of its shaft of light. Though this breakthrough is not an adhesion to the in formal or the unconscious; it is, on the contrary, the resolute affirmation of a distinct and rigorous order of the linguistic matter of painting. Thus, in his paintings the same pictorical matter is thickened and agglomerated in compounds of colour, in articulations of plastic, yet indefinite shapes, until concentrating in those totemic verticalities (or horizontalities) , that characterize some of his works and which recall explicitly Fontana’s ripped canvases. The particular meaning that these “simulated incisions” assume (whose capacity of attraction organizes and distributes the lines of force of the painting) is not the negation of painting. if Fontana situated the “centre” of his work in the “significative marginality” of that nothingness which appears over the rip (a rip that is at the same time “vacuum-nothing” and the “awaiting of signification”) for Provino the rip is also an effect of painting. The incision does not exceed the canvas and does not seek its infraction. The laceration, not beyond the limits of the sedimented colour, is not eluded but remains inside the frontiers of the pictorical practise. The possibilities of art do not concretize in the anticipation of a language that precedes it or that transcends it but in the expression of the concrete sediments that permit its existence.
Now, we can say that this is the true cosmological vocation of Provino’s art that, cutting off the human figure from the canvas, focalizes itself on the truth of the matter, of its giance, of its shapes. Yet, it’s a truth that remains still a possible one for painting: a discipline that Provino proposes as a potential formalisation against the chaos of existence. Or rather, the obstinacy of searching — with the mutability of shape — a truth that does not exist, seems to be one of the features that separates Provino to many of the contemporary tendencies, where the effect of total reality that contains the world appears to have cancelled every effort of query. Everything that we perceive in the mediatical civilization as real presents itself with such an evidence of reality that stops being validated by the paradigms of a truth. Even art, trapped in this unedited form of naturalism, seems to forget that truth does not exist and yet, for this reason, cannot stop looking for it. On the other hand, Provino brings the apory of the aesthetical query, marked by fire in the DNA of his philosophical painting, where the definition of a signification — which is the choice of an identity — dooms every alterity to oblivion. However, without this oblivion, which gives life to a shape, painting does not exist and maybe neither does art. Art that is always a loss, an abandonment, a partial amputation of itself — «the work is finished when that painting stops being me» recalls Provino.
So Painting, aware that the «resemblance and signs» have broken their past alliance, finds in the intrinsic language of the glance the only possibility. A glance that from inside orchestrates the composition of the painting and that from the multiplicity of the “grains of matter” seeks the unity of the form. Wittgenstein states that every language, in the definition of a unity that doesn’t exist, is a Iook that penetrates” «we feel as if we had to penetrate phenomena: our investigation, however, is not directed towards phenomena, but as one might say, towards the “possibilities” of phenomena». The shape that Provino’s glance assumes — the shape that its panting language assumes — is the shape of possibility: a possibility of language and a possibility of shape. His paintings, which Iook through the discontinuity of matter thanks to the researched continuity of a shape — although the rips of the incised traces and the tenaciously agglutinated pigments do not cancel each other — is definitively a discourse on the possibilities of a painting weaved with the matter of its own expressive means. Thus, the “geological” superimposition of pigment layers over pigment layers is the secret of his painting for captivating the shape of the cosmos in its minimal elements. it’s an extraction — from the opaque substance of the world — of those colourful crystals and of those marked trails that guard the shape of matter. A matter that is deposited in the glance, which is at the same time, the glance of matter — therefore, the glance from inside of every shape of knowledge.
Pictorial anatomy of light and space
Provino's current painting comes from far away. From that emotional density of his painting that, in the beginning of the 70's, when he left the city of Bagheria were he was born, and arrived in Rome, started then to paint, in a studio in front of the Nuova Pesa Gallery, of the constructor Marchini. They are still embedded in my memory, the landscapes with mountains steeped in a moody realism between Sironi and Permeke, right in that room I saw and found totally meaningful, as well as distance from the optical of Guttuso, that as I knew, had a not secondary role for the fellow that arrived in the capital.
A fiery temper, that often I had to repress, Provino quickly distinguished himself among the 12 artists who gave life to the Collective of the Sunflower (Girasoli) of which I was as a critic, companion on the road from 1965 to 1968. Over the lamented Marina Amadio e Giovanni Checchi, they were the sculptors Claudio Capotondi e Vincenzo Gaetaniello and the painters Valeriano Ciai, Marilù Eustacchio, Gino Guida, Paolo Guiotto, who abanded paintig to devote himself to sculpture, Salvatore Provino, exactly, the promoter of the collective experience Franco Sarnari and Roberto Vaiano, as well as the experimental Luca Patella.
The coexistance with the "girasolini" (sunflowers), however, did not last long for Salvatore. Infact after his personal exhibition at the Girasole, he went on his way. And as he went he puryfied his painting, of those expressionistic instances to set forth on a more rational land, more suitable to return the complexity of the machinary, which was represented along with the linotyper also in a large format, and it is the case of Linotype of 1972. It was already the need for a geometrical ratio, not at all Euclidean, that started to press on him until it configured, at the same time with his studies of Lobachevsky geometry in morphologies predominantly assigned to curved lines, opposite to the fourth dimensional drawings made in the forties by Corrado Cagli, artist that Provino, in the first half of the 70's, began to frequent. The morphologies of this pictorial geometry was articulated in a space to conform real bodies structured exactly from the rythmic of curvilinear elements with a few straight cuts outwardly marked as a code, other respect not only to the "caglieschi" drawings of fourth dimension, but also to the nudes of Salvatore painted in the final 70's, naked bodies tortured and flayed, perhaps for a persistant tribute, totally personal, to Francis Bacon, who in Rome (and not only) in that decade had influenced many young people, subsequently the memorable anthologic set up in September / October of 1962 at the Civic Gallery of Modern Art in Turin.
And Codice Altro was the title of a large oil on canvas painted in 1975, the year after, by Provino, with skilful cuts and insets, "architecturally" trasported on walnut wood 2,20 meters high.
Those were the rehearsals for that pictorial surgery turning point, implemented with the scalpel of drawings that in the following years, taking advantage of certain lessons of Informal, disentagled in spatial and visceral solutions (and I think of the poetic musicality of morphemes curvilinear lines of "Urbanistica Astrale" of 1978 and the movements of the tissue fragments allusively corporal of Ecce Homo of 1979.
Yes, Ecce Homo.
Infact in all the subsequent production, Provino's art work "takes shape" just like since 1988, presenting a solo exhibition in Bagheria, on the basis of a reference to Leonardo put forward by Lambertini, I pointed in the "reading" of his work so as to entitle that text "Anatomical studies on the body of painting".
Into it, after noticing that the works of the last decade, despite of the "not infrequent fantastic surges" were for the most the results of a keen anatomical study, instead of human bodies it exerts on the body of painting- as I said..
However Provino is not an artist of the Renaissance. Here, then, that he can not do without mixing the experience of the past with the present. So to Giotto, Paolo Uccello, but also to the pompeian painting, he looks, at the same time watching Gorky, Matta and Klee through the lessons of Cagli, who in his way, declined many ideas and inventions of Klee. It is still a sounder in the body of painting. Sounders that inevitably end up producing a certain kind of metamorphism of the forms and lines, which eventually psychologizes painting, even despite of it's organic echos. Infact, the seeing of Provino is a look beyond the enclosure of the objective reality, it is a go into the ESSENCES to dismantle the armors that make them appear as independent existences.
Ultimately, it is years that Provino chases the unconscious of painting. For this reason his paintings return the vision of elastic spaces and absolute timlessness, that according to Jung, rule the unconscious.
Therefore, continuing, I underlined the autobiographic thickness of his research: everything is simultaneous in Provino, to feel, to perceive, to form proceed in unison. It is not excluded that some kind of suggestion of Futurist dynamism has nourished him to arrive to the current targets. If so, then, to the references already advanced, could be added Duchamp the painter, the one, to be clear, of "The Nude who descends the stairs". However, Provino is not as cerebral and conceptual as Duchamp. Instead he is mental in the manner of the cubists and oniric like the surrealists. And from these sources come the "tears" in the canvasas, which retain and maintain memory of a fresco, significant and meaningful (that is the real novelty of his language, also compared to the "cagli lesson", also for his metaphorically autobiographic relief there are a sort of fantasy intimate diary pages of the painter, and a diary where reality is completely replayed and the plastic dimension of painting is continually lacerated by the scalpel of the anatomical curiosities of Provino. I wanted to bring these notes of more than twenty years ago, because it is on the basis of these that you can best understand the works proposed here and in the meantime the coherence of the current pictorial discourse, whose body is now crossed by vertical wounds, now by organic concretions, whose space acquires cosmic meanings, always animated by varied effects of materialized light, here in the surface, there beyond the clots more or less structured.
Looking closer, these are the faces of the same coin, of an excavation still avid and still strongly introspective on the mechanism of it's own creativity, an excavation objectified in a continuous oscillation between earthly organic microcosms, in this case organisms flayed by a surgery optical pictographic, and the cosmic macrocosm, or rather otherworldy spaces, that is psychological and existential, captured by the antennas of ego image, in a sort of self reflection to the abyss.
Because Provino talks only about himself in his paintings. Of course for metaphors, where now he vivisections bodies, in the case of (Corpo 2009), with undertones reducible to the existance (Girandola della vita 2004) and to his temporal flow (Il tempo trascina i corpi 2009), and now chromatically filters memories of his native Sicily, in blu, in red, in yellow. And if with the yellow's more or less bright, the pictorial metaphor refers both to sunlight (Luce e natura del Sud 2009) and to the solfataras, that for Salvatore, unlike Guttuso, does not offer scenes of young men working in them, but returns the visual sensation (Solfatara n.d.) and even the olfactory one (Odore di zolfo 2008) with the blue monochromes the reference is to the sea of Sicily, with it's trasparencies and penumbras (Trasparenze mediterranee 2009), and to the sky, that is seen like a mirror (Nello specchio 2008) and that is why it is sometimes perceived as a shattered light, like in the contemporary (Luce azzurra).
More complex seems to be the metaphor assigned to the red, openly reported to fire (Infuocato 2000, Ovale del fuoco 2008, Lingua difuoco 2009). But what fire is it? It is not certainly from from the Etna vulcano, because Bagheria is closer to Palermo than to Catania. So it is not inspired to the lava flows that instead attracted Cagli, who bought a villa in Taormina for his summer vacations. I remember that in one of my visits to his house, number 12 in Fonte di Fauno street, showing me some of his paintings with fire streams or with ramifications of lava, he had to point out how difficult it was to deal with the color red. It's a difficulty that Provino, thanks to his stylist maturity reached by decades, can cope with ability, loading his paintings in red with bright cracklings (Lingua di fuoco 2009), or articulating on one side the tonal variations in a sort of monochrome cubism, as in Infuocato 2000 and Ovale di fuoco 2008, and on the other side a sort of energetic energy, as for the previously mentioned Lingua di fuoco, it makes reference to the magmatic matrix of the origins post Big Bang, as in the oil In principio.....of 4 years before. But beyond the linguistic results, what are the motivations of these expressive moments in red? Is it his fiery plunge, in the same way Salvatore does in the green of the nature (Dentro il paesaggio 2008)?
It is possible, considering that, once he reached his artistic maturity, Provino gradually achieved control of his fiery temper, which helped him gain a security operative and expressive trasmuted for admixture with it's innate generosity in affability.
I always said that in life you must seek, instead of happiness, your own realization. Which is a form of happiness, more concrete and stable.
Well, Salvatore Provino obtained this realization in over over thirty years, thanks to the stylistic cypher to whom he entrusts the sensitive stories of his soul, registering with the design and the color the changeability of the state and its waste.
That is why unlike many contemporary artists same age or younger, that vare consumed in a restless nomadism, often inconclusive in a desperate search of a ubi consistam, he found his ubi consistam, with that stylistic cypher with which he implements his pittograph anatomy's, sometimes pictorial graphics of space and light, more or less materialized, of which we have fifteen significant examples.
Giorgio Di Genova
Trajectories of light
Dark, darkness. Try to imagine a mediterranean night. Scent of blackberries and flowers. A warm breeze that makes noise.
The roughness of a rock that we barely see through the shade of the moon. Vauge memories of a civilization barried under the star and into us. The unexpected explosion of a vulcano, wonder of a subsurface which rebels. Enchantment and terror toghether. The red glow of the lava and the flicker of a bright glow in the sky.
Or - more unexpected, almost a gift – the meeting with a instantaneous trajectory of light on the earth to outline, briefly, a walking hypothesis.
Salvatore Provino's art, basically, is made of this: of memories and nature, of fear and hope.
Of landscapes that are landscapes of the soul. Indeed the mirror of the soul.
Intimate even when boundless, even when the canvas seems to suck in the firmament or to plunge under the waves.
The deep abyss that we see is our abyss. Mistery, arrogance and chaos of our incounscious, of our inextricable tangle of guts and brains.
Sound out intersections of unknown genes, that without us knowing, make us what we are, and as hard as we try, will never understand completely.
Provino, he is a mental landscape painter, great visionary who over sees, beyond the objective data.
And beyond the geology and biology. Beyond the certainty of science, beyond any easy pshycologism.
If anything he is a poet. A thief of images that – slowly, as he says, laboriously we dare, radiate from the dark. Moments of light (an intuition? A presage? Munch's scream or the Archimedes eureka?) to steal then quickly with a snap of the eye and the paint brush, before the return of the desperate darkness.
Strange painting for an artist from Bagheria.
In his paintings we would rather expect the blinding brightness of Sicily, the overflowing radiance and the radiation beam of the south, which are all injury to the retina and exaltation to the senses.
But the artist is evidentely too contemporary, too attached to these troubled days, too be entertained only by the light.
The twentieth century was obscure, was blindness. To start seeing again, we must advance step by step. That is, in the paintings, with illumination that proceeds with light filaments, lightning, splinters. Fragments that try to tear the material, to break through the memory, to find a crack of the moment, to desolve a clot of the reason.
From the dark and heavy speckled mass, incombent in the livid and disquieting backgrounds, outstands a dense net of gaglion fluctuaningt and liquid.
Flowing on the surface in the casuality of a non-euclidean geometry in the imperfect rythm and alienating life. They vibrate the inconsistency, the fragility, the astonishment of a apparition.
Art works that for once put to silence the historian who is in us, always tempted by the definitions.
Could make us talk, with revelance, about abstraction, informal organicistic, of frottage.
To the detriment of their enchantment.
The Escape from the glance by Salvatore Provino
The conceptual approach that characterizes the creative vein of Salvatore Provino, one of the most intriguing characters on the current art scene, is made by "melting material and color" meant to be in a expressive and not descriptive way, to define non-figurative forms that fill in the pictorial space as a lyric reference to reality suggested as a possible consequence of a natural event "Eco of nature", "The city of stones", "Flowers", "Vapore and magma", "From chaos to order".
The art works on display in the roman gallery "Michelangelo" acquire signification by the feeling that they evoke and from the organizzation of the tones in patterns and the systems that enchance their emotional possibilities, as the construction of volumes, that in a harmonious blend of forms and atmoshere, find their reason to exist in a pictorial space.
Provino operates through simultaneous tonal convergences and turns all coloristic occasions into a real reason, full of great substance, which goes beyond the appearance of the representation in a dimension that is perceived by the glance that penetrates the essence.
By pursuing with coherence the informal line Salvatore Provino is an artist that managed to remain faithful to his inspiration, increasing his knowledge through the acquisition of major freedom of expression, a search for concreteness to suggest the texture of portrayed "things", grasping with immediate synthesis the "forms".
His reality is reflected in the image. It is what the title of the exhibition defines "Escape from the glance". Denying the traditional models of vision, writes Gianmaria Nerli, becomes the nucleus of the painting of Salvatore Provino: the escape from the glance or from the metaphor of a glance, is affirmed as the intellectual figure of art, although as it wants to escape from it's laws, it continues to be "vision art".
The art work of Provino, acquired in a wide evolution and a serious technical and materica research, performed in almost fifty years of artistic and teaching activities (he is full professor of Painting Academy of Fine Arts of Naples), seems to offer an apparent chaos, from which, as in the Genesis, elements are seperated then join in "figures"assuming primordial connotations, oneiric, full of suggestions.
Greetings from the director of the
Museum of Modern Art
Between the description of the theme and the portrait of a subject, that is absolutely independent, the artist Salvatore Provino, born in Sicily, has chosen to operate in the intermediate space. He has focused his attention in the description of the trace of the subject and left to the audience plenty of space to imagine what happened. Through the geometric figures, the symbols, the surface colors, the folding back, the repetition and the disposition of the lines, Salvatore Provino esplored philosophical relations existing between "existence" and "nothing", "static" and "movement", offering the pubblic an infinite space to think.
The art works of Salvatore Provino were exposed in museums and galleries of Rome, Naples, Palermo and in many other cities out of Italy. In 2002 his works were exposed for the first time at the National Museum of Beijing, this made him the first western painter to expose there.
In this exhibition there are 56 paintings of Salvatore Provino created between 2000 and 2004. The great support of the Italian General Consulate in Guangzhou, made this possible. This is a great event for cultural exchanges between Italy and China and between the Art Museum and the Italian Consulate in Guangzhou.
Thanks to those that helped to create this event!
Guangdong Museum of Modern Art
Wang Huang Sheng - June 2005
The magma of an incisive and underlaying tension runs through the painting of Salvatore Provino dilating the surface (not only in physical dimensions) until it is brought to the typical cardinal position, that loves the dialetic between the internal and external, between joy and tragedy, pictorial syntax merges its components made of marks, shapes, colors, material according to the criterion of binary stratification and of the subtraction to deal with the space -not necessarily invading it in spite of the appearances in a rigorous way of a complex texture that suspends the image among his own evidence and potential required latency.
That of Provino, more simply, is a conflictual path, explained mechanistically by following the historical references of the postwar italian realism (Guttuso) and of the great, although controversial season of the informal (including their ancestry of abstraction) but synthetically expressive for the unusual subjectivity with which the artist combines the moods of impetuous mediterranean nature, that emphasizes in the final assumption the need for intelligent control with the desire to comunicate strong feelings. Without emphasis or violence, at least in the most succesful art works – Provino relates the perpetual impressions of his perceptive order relaying on a grammar that integrates the development of the lines, the implosive aggregation of the masses in the sense of shape, color, the suggestion of the shades, the cromatic scanning.
Narrates, as we said, even if for turbulent intuition, places and emotions, although dominated by the desire to emerge in the area of absolute intensity, hardly never overflow the limit, as precise as ineffable which is given by the equally arrogant desire to practise the secret territories of poetry following the essential balance of rational mediation. The speech on the style has a satisfactory arrangement with reference to those perceptual proceedings that mark the prevailing of the tracks, of the plot, of the formation rather than to be defined, of the image in terms of diffusion of a grid implying inclusions and exclusions, placing as Fabrizio d'Amico writes, that with Flaminia Gualdoni introduces the artist in the catalog of his exhibition "Between the urgency of the hand and the deadline of the image the cautious and thoughtful filter of those who love the autonomous, demanding reasons of painting.