Salvatore Provino

Born in Bagheria (Palermo) on 4 June 1943, Salvatore Provino moved to Rome as a young man. Here he used to visit the studio of his fellow citizen Renato Guttuso. In 1964, at the young age of 21, in the Galleria Consorti in Rome the artist held his first solo exhibition, which evoked places from his childhood.

Provino's hometown, the faces of its citizens, marked by the passage of time and hard labour, and the countryside, with its dramatic, tragic colours reminiscent of ancient Greek culture, all deeply influenced his artistic background.

By the late 1960s, his painting was approaching the sensitivity of English art and especially that of F. Bacon. In this figurative stage of his career, the artist was also influenced by Sironi, choosing to focus on subjects that through the dramatic quality of the human figure enabled him to explore the difficult living conditions of a social class experiencing the effects of the industrialization process and the exploitation of man.

After a series of encounters with the mathematician and philosopher L. Lombardo Radice, in 1974 the artist drew upon Lobachevsky's theories on the sphericalness of the body and geometry as the structure of physical space. Geometry grew spherical, structures appeared to levitate and forms became dynamic through a conceptual research that made mathematics increasingly resemble art, with intuitive and creative essence as the origin of every theoretical and empirical pursuit.

In 1979, after a journey to Peru, Provino developed an extraordinary dialectic in his painting between geometries and philosophy, the visible and the invisible. This marked the beginning of what may genuinely be regarded as the mature stage in his career, where painting consisting of matter and colours served as the chief means of pursuing expressive research into a dynamic and infinite world: through a painstaking pictorial execution and gestural touches, the artist succeeded in conveying what the physical space of the canvas would not otherwise have allowed him to convey.

In 1986, held in high repute, he was invited to take the Chair of Painting in the Palermo Academy of Fine Arts. He later joined the University of Naples.

Since the 1990s, the artist has held a range of solo exhibitions – along with some prestigious international ones – in important public spaces in Italy: the Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara, Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome, Castel dell’Ovo in Naples and Magazzini del Sale in Cervia, to mention but a few.

In 2002 he was the first Western artist to display his works in the National Museum of China in Beijing, as well as the most important museums in the cities of Shenzhen, Shenyang, Canton, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Changshu. This marked the beginning of a decade of international exhibitions that brought Provino to Greece, the United States, Bulgaria and Argentina, although he also continues to regularly exhibit his works in his native Sicily.