To Dream, to Collect


  • About the Artist
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Bibliography

Salvo (real name Salvatore Mangione) was born in Leonforte, in the province of Enna in 1947. In 1956 he and his family move from Catania to Turin, which will always remain his adoptive city. In the early 1960s he begins painting and supports himself by selling low-priced portraits, landscapes and copies of Rembrandt and Van Gogh. In 1963 he participates in the 121st Esposizione della Società Promotrice delle Belle Arti with a drawing after Leonardo.

Between September and December 1968, the artist is in Paris, swept off his feet by the cultural climate of the student protests. After returning to Turin, he begins spending time with the artists involved in the Arte Povera movement, whose point of reference is the gallery owned by Gian Enzo Sperone. He meets Boetti; they become friends and share a studio until 1971. He also meets Mario and Marisa Merz, Paolini, Penone, Pistoletto, Zorio, as well as the critics Renato Barilli, Germano Celant, and Achille Bonito Oliva.

In 1969 he gets involved with the American Conceptual artists Joseph Kosuth, Robert Barry, and Sol LeWitt. In the summer he embarks on his first long journey to Afghanistan, to be followed by others. He begins making works that already clearly show up the themes—the search for the Self, narcissistic self-satisfaction, the relationship with the past and with the history of culture—that will become an essential part of his later research.

These include the photograph Autoritratto come Raffaello and the 12 autoritratti series where he mounts his own face on images taken from newspapers, shown at the Sperone Gallery in 1970 for his first solo show.

In parallel with his photographic works, Salvo makes marble panels on which he carves words or sentences, such as Idiota, Respirare il padre, Io sono il migliore. Although the works are developed within the context of the Arte Povera movement, their monumental and archaicizing connotations reveal their unique nature and foreshadow the artist’s future research.

Salvo è vivo is made in 1970, and it is now exhibited at the Australian National Gallery in Canberra and at the Neues Museum in Weimar. The following year he makes 40 nomi, a list of illustrious names that go from Aristotle to Salvo. He continues to work on his series of marble plaques throughout 1972, with inscriptions from a variety of sources, such as an Assyrian text in Il lamento di Assurbanipal or one of Aesop’s fables for La tartaruga e l’aquila.

In 1971 he begins making Tricolore, surfaces on which he writes “Salvo” in red, white, and green or in neon lettering, as well as copies of novels he personally transcribes where he uses the same process of substituting self-portraits by inserting his name in lieu of that of the main character; a case in point is Salvo nel paese delle meraviglie (after Carroll) and L’isola del tesoro (after Stevenson).

Over the course of the year he meets Cristina, his lifetime partner. Robert Barry introduces him to Paul Maenz. Thus begins Salvo’s long friendship and work relationship with the German art dealer, who has a solo show of the artist’s work in his Cologne gallery in June, preceded by the artist’s Paris debut at the Galerie Yvon Lambert in March.

In June 1972 he meets John Weber, and his last exhibition of Conceptual works is planned to be held in the New York gallery the following January. That same year Salvo takes part in Documenta 5 in Kassel.

Salvo makes a crucial decision in 1973 when he goes back to painting, which he will never again abandon.

A return to traditional techniques had already been visible in several Autoritratti benedicenti drawn between 1968 and 1969. With the intention of revisiting art history Salvo proceeds to make his works known as d’après. Citing an old master painting does not necessarily mean copying it tout court, but rather doing it over in a simplified key, where the artist at times adds images of himself according to the process of the self-portrait.

These works, inspired by such great fifteenth-century masters as Cosmè Tura and Raphael, are shown in numerous exhibitions.

The following year “Projekt ’74” opens in Cologne: Salvo asks that his works not be shown at the Kunsthalle, the seat of the exhibition, but in a room at the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, where San Martino e il povero, dated to 1973 (now at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Turin), is placed next to the masterpieces of one painter for each century, for example, Simone Martini, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Rembrandt, and Cézanne. Also in 1974 Salvo takes part in the group show “La ripetizione differente” curated by Renato Barilli and held at the Studio Marconi in Milan. In December he shows a single work, the Trionfo di San Giorgio (da Carpaccio), over seven metres in size, at the Toselli Gallery; the work is also shown at the 1976 Venice Biennale.

He paints his first “Italie” and “Sicilie”. These consist of clearly recognizable geographic maps bearing the names of famous philosophers, painters, writers followed by Salvo’s own name, all of which are neatly marked on the surface.

In 1976 there is a change in his research. He develops a series of landscapes in which he uses bright colours to depict horsemen amidst architectural ruins and visions of classical columns, viewed at different times of the day or night.

He meets Giuliano Briganti and Luisa Laureati, and Luciano Pistoi, the art dealer with whom he will have a close relationship for many years.

In 1977 his daughter Norma is born, and for the first time ever a museum hosts a retrospective of his work. Curated by Zdenek Felix for the Museum Folkwang of Essen, this major exhibition then travels to the Kunstverein in Mannheim.

Also in 1977 he finishes his Giganti fulminati da Giove, one of the largest of his works made during his mythological period. He has several solo shows, including an exhibition on the “Capriccio” at the Stein Gallery in Turin, later mounted at both the Françoise Lambert and the Pero Gallery, in Milan, and the Massimo Minini in Brescia, and he also participates in several group shows, including one at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Bologna and another one at the Holly Solomon Gallery in New York.

Between late 1979 and 1980 Salvo paints a series of landscapes with country homes, churches, and monuments such as San Giovanni degli Eremiti in Palermo and the Tower of Pisa; appearing for the first time are trees inspired by Giotto and vegetation.

Between 1982 and 1983 he gains further acclaim in Europe. After the major retrospective organized by Massimo Minini at the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst in Ghent, the following year his most significant works post-1973 are shown at the Kunstmuseum in Lucerne, and later at the Nouveau Musée di Villeurbanne, near Lyon.

It is the start of his relationship with the writers Giuseppe Pontiggia and Leonardo Sciascia, who will dedicate some of their writings to him.

In the summer of 1984 Maurizio Calvesi invites Salvo to “Arte allo specchio” at the 41st Venice Biennale: he shows six of his works, including San Martino e il povero, Il bar, made in 1981, and a painting from the cycle Rovine dated to 1984. Upon returning from a long trip to Greece, Yugoslavia, and Turkey, he paints mishram, the typical Muslim graves he had visited in Sarajevo. This theme, introduced by Franco Toselli, will be followed by Ottomanie (a neologism coined by Salvo), variants of the previous landscapes featuring minarets portrayed to reveal the essentiality of their architecture.

In 1986 the treatise Della Pittura. Imitazione di Wittgenstein is published; it consists of 238 short paragraphs in which Salvo gathers his thoughts on painting according to the method of the axiomatic proposition and the rhetorical question. The volume is published in Italian, English, German, and Spanish.

He meets Daniele Pescali, who will be his main art dealer from 1987 to 1995.

In 1988 he holds two institutional exhibitions, at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, and at the Musée d’Art Contemporain Nîmes.

He paints works inspired by the paintings of Pieter Jansz Saenredam; Interni con funzioni straordinarie are shown at the In Arco Gallery in Turin in 1991.

In 1992 Renato Barilli is the curator of the artist’s solo show “Archeologie del futuro” hosted by the Galleria dello Scudo in Verona; the catalogue includes essays by Giuseppe Pontiggia, Paul Maenz, and Luigi Meneghelli.

In the 1990s Salvo makes several series of paintings devoted to some of the places he has visited, including Oman, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Tibet, Nepal, Ethiopia, as well as much of Europe, in particular France, Germany, and Norway.

From 1995 onwards Salvo begins spending several months a year in the gulf of Policastro and the Po Valley, near Monviso, places that inspire many of his works.

In those years he meets and spends time with the writer Nico Orengo, for whom he illustrates the book Cucina crudele in 2003.

In 1998 he has a retrospective exhibition at Villa delle Rose, the seat of the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Bologna, curated by Renato Barilli and Danilo Eccher.

In the 2000s other trips inspire the artist’s painting, especially ones to China, Thailand, Egypt, and Iceland.

He has several solo shows, including at Dep Art and Zonca & Zonca in Milan, Raffaelli in Trento, and Mazzoleni in Turin, and in public spaces like Palazzina Azzurra in S. Benedetto del Tronto and Trevi Flash Art Museum (curator Luca Beatrice), and the Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Bergamo, for a two-man show with Gabriele Basilico, curator Giacinto Di Pietrantonio.

During these years his painting embraces the subject of the lowlands, and he introduces a new perspective in his landscapes.

Turin, his adoptive city, devotes a major retrospective to his work at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, curator Pier Giovanni Castagnoli, in 2007.

Salvo spends a great deal of time in Costigliole d’Asti, located between the Langhe and Monferrato, whose hillside landscapes appear in his last works.

In 2013 he begins working with the Mehdi Chouakri Gallery in Berlin, where a solo show of his work is held in 2014.

That same year, in addition to painting his favourite subjects like landscapes and still lifes, he goes back to some of the subjects he had abandoned over three decades before, but in a new key; he makes a large-scale Italia, a Sicilia and a Bar, which he presents in March 2015 on the occasion of his solo show at the Mazzoli Gallery in Modena. He died on 12 September 2015 in Turin.


Turin, Norma Mangione Gallery, Salvo
Tenerife, San Cristobal de la laguna, Fundación Cristino de Vera, Salvo, en las Islas Canarias
Lugano, Imago Art Gallery, Salvo. Color everywhere
Pietrasanta, Giovanni Bonelli Gallery, Tribute to Salvo

Dijon, Consortium Museum, The Almanach 18, 3rd International Biennial of Contemporary Art

Milan, Dep Art Gallery, Salvo. An art without compromise
Berlin, Mehdi Chouakri, Salvo, bars and churches
Turin, Norma Mangione Gallery, If I design this
Lugano, LAC, Boetti / Salvo, Living by playing
Turin, Galleria In Arco, The way home

New York, Ierimonti Gallery, Salvo-Io are the best
London, Jerome Zodo Gallery, The Baron in the trees: works by Salvo
Turin, Biasutti & Biasutti, Works of Salvo

Modena, Galleria Mazzoli, Salvo
Turin, Civic Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, Tribute to Salvo
Lissone, Museum of Contemporary Art, Salvo: The Best

Berlin, Galerie Mehdi Chouakri, Salvo is alive

Courmayeur, Marco Canepa Gallery, Salvo
Milan, Galleria Zonca & Zonca, Flowers of May
Fucecchio, Fattoria Montellori, Incontri a Montellori

Milan, Dep Art Gallery, Salvo - Récits
Trento, Raffaelli Art Studio, Salvo - Color Universe
Milan, Zonca & Zonca, Preparations for the evening
Milan, Cà di Frà, fables of marble
Turin, Barrier Association, Without Barriers - Unless

Altavilla, Atlantic Gallery, Except Unforeseen
Arco, MAG Alto Garda Civic Museum, Salvo - Landscape practice

Milan, Zonca & Zonca, Salvo - Ordinary Ecstasy
Caserta, Galleria De Nisi, Save landscape visions
Arco di Trento, G. Segantini Civic Gallery - Palazzo Panni, Salvo. Landscape practice
Valdagno, Civic Gallery of Modern Art, Salvo - Tino Stefanoni. Double match

Turin, Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, Salvo
Venice, Bugno Art Gallery, Salvo
Chiari, Gallery of Art The Meeting, Seeing a picture as a picture
Milan, Dep Art Gallery, Salvo - selected works 1986-2007
Lecco, Civic Museum Torre Viscontea, This train stops in Tucumcari

Genoa, Marco Canepa, Salvo
Trento, Studio of Art Raffaelli, Salvo - Pelmo the throne of God
Reykjavik, The Corridor Gallery, Salvo
Genoa, Biale Cerruti Art Gallery, Salvo - Recent works
Varese, Duet Gallery, Travel to Iceland. Helgi Fridjónsson

Milan, Zonca & Zonca contemporary art, 67/77 Boetti-Salvo
Venice, Galleria Bugno, Salvo
Venice, Venice International Graphics Center, "Do Forni" XX Edition Award

Ulm, Kunstverein Ulm, Salvo-Das Paradies ist jetzt
Turin, Mazzoleni Modern Art, Salvo - 1974-2004 works

Milan, Galleria Zonca & Zonca, Salvo- Because the little fish laughed
Trevi, Trevi Flash Art Museum, Salvo
Turin, Giampiero Biasutti Modern and Contemporary Art, Cruel Cuisine
Courmayeur, Marco Canepa Gallery, Salvo - Lodola

Chiari, Gallery of Art The Meeting, Salvo - Places of prayer and memory
Bergamo, Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gabriele Basilico and Salvo-Contemporary Landscape. Dialogues between photography and painting
Cortina d'Ampezzo, Civic Gallery, Palazzo delle Poste, Salvo - Enchanted Mountain

Milan, Toselli Gallery, Salvo
Rome, Giovanni di Summa Gallery, Salvo

Forte dei Marmi, Gianpaolo Beccherini Contemporary Art, Salvo
S. Benedetto del Tronto, Palazzina Azzurra, Salvo
New Church of Treia, Villa Valcampana, Salvo
Trento, Studio d 'Arte Raffaelli, Salvo landscapes

Milan, S. Fedele Gallery, Salvo, Stefanoni
Venice, Galleria L’occhio, Works on paper
Caraglio, ex-Capuchin convent, Salvo
Berlin, Galerie Dirty Window, Salvo
Rome, Galleria Pio Monti, 1999 - 2000

Bologna, Gallery of Modern Art, Villa delle Rose, Salvo
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Galerìa Leyendecker, Salvo-Ontani
Trento, Raffaelli Art Studio, Salvo, Still Life
Turin, Galleria Nuova Gissi, Salvo
Rome, Giovanni Summa Gallery, Salvo

Casole d’Elsa, Civic Art Gallery, Art to art
Turin, Galleria Alter
Florence, Galleria Santo Ficara, Painted trips
Cologne, Galerie Buchmann, Salvo. Recent works

Milan, Mercedes-Benz Space Italy, Salvo
Milan, Centro Arte, Salvo. Daydreams
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Galerìa Leyendecker

Stoccarda, Galerie Kaess-Weiss
Torino, Galleria In Arco, Salvo, Là

Stoccarda, Galerie Kaess-Waess
Berlino, Galerie Edda Biermann
Milano, Ciocca-Raffaelli Arte Contemporanea
Bologna, stand Galleria Giovanni Di Summa, Roma, Arte Fiera 94, Salvo. Opere scelte
Roma, Galleria Giovanni Di Summa, Dipinti recenti 1990 - 1993
Radda in Chianti, Castello di Volpaia, Salvo. Il paese delle meraviglie
Stoccarda, Galerie der Stadt Stuttgart, Salvo

Monaco, Wassermann Galerie, Salvo: new works
Colonia, Wassermann Galerie, Salvo-Paintings
Bologna, stand Galleria Santo Ficara, Firenze, Arte Fiera 93, La virtù del mestiere
Milano, Studio d’Arte Cannaviello, Salvo. Luoghi della memoria

Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Galerìa Leyendecker
Legnano, Proposte d’Arte, Salvo. Opere scelte
Milano, Galleria Toselli
Roma, Galleria Consorti
Stoccarda, Galerie Kaess-Weiss
Brescia, Galleria d’Arte Contemporanea Alberto Valerio, Salvo. Opere dal 1981 al 1991
Verona, Galleria dello Scudo, Salvo. Archeologie del futuro

Torino, Galleria In Arco, Salvo. interni con funzioni straordinarie 
Firenze, Galleria Santo Ficara, Salvo. Ottomania

Roma, Associazione Culturale Monti
Milano, Galleria Bixio2, Salvo. Opere 1971 – 1990

Colonia, Galerie Paul Maenz
Trento, Studio d’Arte Raffaelli, Salvo 1979-1985
Berna, Galerie Erika + Otto Friedrich, Salvo. Werke 1972 – 1988
Cagli, Galleria Bellosguardo
Milano, Galleria d’Arte Maestri Incisori
Torino, Galleria Matteo Remolino
Verona, Galleria Cinquetti

Rotterdam, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Salvo. Schilderijenl - Paintings 1975-1987
Brescia, Galleria Minini, Salvo. Notturni
Nimes, Musée d’art contemporain, Salvo. Peinturesl - Paintings 1975-1987
Friburgo, Kunstverein Freiburg
Torino, Galleria In Arco, Salvo - Sironi
Stoccarda, Galerie Kaess-Weiss

Colonia, Galerie Paul Maenz
Roma, Galleria La Nuova Pesa
Laupheim, Kunstverein Laupheim-Schranne
Amsterdam, Art & Project
Anversa, Galerie 121
Milano, Rotonda di via Besana

New York, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New Paintings
Genoa, Chisel Gallery, Salvo. Total orchestration
Milan, Galleria del Milione
Brescia, The New City Gallery
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Leyendecker Gallery

Rome, the Oca Gallery
Turin, Marco Noire Gallery, Salvo. Drawings
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Galerìa Leyendecker
Genoa, La Bertesca Gallery Two

Genoa, Masnata Artistic Consultancy Agency and / or Bertesca, Salvo. Recent works
Turin, Eva Menzio Gallery, Things are like this and so
Venice, Galleria Luce
Milan, Galleria Toselli
Cologne, Galerie Paul Maenz, Salvo. Gemalde und Zeichnungen

Lucerne, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Salvo. Bilder 1973-1982
Cologne, Galerie Paul Maenz, Salvo. Stilleben & neue Bilder
Lyon, Le Nouveau Musèe, Salvo. Bilder 1973-1982

Ghent, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Salvo, Werken van 1969 tot 1982
Rome, Galleria Monti

Amsterdam, Art & Project
Bagnolo Mella, Palazzo Avogadro Spada, Salvo. Battle Room
Turin, Galleria Eva Menzio and Elena Pron, Salvo. Systematic mirages
Cologne, Galerie Paul Maenz, Salvo. Systematic mirages

Turin, Galleria Eva Menzio and Elena Pron, Hercules on a journey
Cologne, Paul Maenz Gallery
Milan, Galleria Massimo Minini, Salvo. Six still lives
Milan, Galleria Pero

Milan, Françoise Lambert Gallery

Cologne, Galerie Paul Maenz
Turin, Galleria Christian Stein, Capricci (the ruins)

Essen, Museum Folkwang
Mannheim, Mannheimer Kunstverein
Rome, Sperone Gallery

Milan, François Lambert Gallery
Bologna, Gallery of Palazzo Galvani

Brescia, Galleria Banco, Salvo, variations on the Italian flag 1971-1973
Munich, Galerie Area
Cologne, Galerie Paul Maenz

Brussels, Galerie Paul Maenz
Rotterdam, Galerie "T Venster
Cologne, Galerie Paul Maenz
Milan, Galleria Toselli

Rome, Sperone Gallery - Fischer
New York, John Weber Gallery
Cologne, Galerie Paul Maenz
Milan, Galleria Toselli

Amsterdam, Art & Project, Salvo
Cologne, Galerie Paul Maenz
Bari, Galleria Marilena Bonomo

Paris, Galerie Yvon Lambert
Cologne, Galerie Paul Maenz

Turin, Sperone Gallery
Brescia, Acme Gallery
Milan, Françoise Lambert Gallery




Dep Art Gallery at Art Verona 2019, Dep Art Gallery

Dep Art Gallery at PAN Amsterdam 2018, Dep Art Gallery
Dep Art Gallery at Art Verona 2018, Dep Art Gallery
Erica Ravenna Arte Contemporanea at miart 2018, Erica Ravenna Arte Contemporanea

Dep Art Gallery at PAN Amsterdam 2017, Dep Art Gallery
Norma Mangione at miart 2017, Norma Mangione

Jerome Zodo Gallery at Spring Masters New York 2016, Jerome Zodo Gallery

Galerie Mehdi Chouakri at Art Basel 2014, Galerie Mehdi Chouakri


Z. Felix, W. Lippert, H. M. Schwarz, "Unless". Essen (Germany): Museum Folkwang, 1977.

R. Barilli (edited by), "Salvo". Milan: Fabbri Editori, 1987.

W. Crouwel, E. de Groot, G. Pontiggia, Salvo, Z. Felix, “Salvo - Schilderijen | Paintings 1975-1987 ". Rotterdam (Netherlands): Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, 1988.

R. Calle, Z. Felix, E. de Groot, G. Pontiggia, Salvo, "Salvo - Peintures | Paintings 1975-1987 ". Nimes (France): Musée d’Art Contemporain, 1988.

L. Ponti (text of), "Salvo. Works 1971 - 1990". Milan: Galleria Bixio, 1990.

R. Barilli, W. M. Faust, Salvo, J.- K. Schmidt, U. Zeller, "Salvo". Stuttgart (Germany): Galerie der Stadt, 1994.

W. M. Faust, P. Tortonese (ed.) "Salvo. Dreams with open eyes". Milan: Centro Arte, 1996.

D. Auregli, R. Barilli, D. Eccher, "Salvo". Milan: Electa, 1998.

L. Beatrice (edited by), M. Senaldi, C. Perrella, L. Pratesi, G. Pozzi, A. Galletta, "Salvo". Milan: Edizioni Charta, 1999.

G. Basilico, G. Di Pietrantonio, Salvo, "Gabriele Basilico and Salvo - Contemporary Landscape: dialogues between photography and painting". Bergamo: Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, 2002.

L. Castellini (texts by), "Salvo. Selected works 1986 - 2007". Milan: Dep Art Editions, 2007.

L. Beatrice (edited by) "Unless. This train stops at Tucumcari". Lecco: Stefanoni Publishing House, 2007.

P. G. Castagnoli, Salvo, "Salvo". Turin: GAM Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, 2007.

A. Zanchetta (edited by), Salvo. "Récits". Milan: Dep Art Editions, 2010.

A. Cucchi (edited by), Salvo, "Salvo". Rome: Edizioni Nero, 2016.

M. Galbiati (edited by), Salvo. "An art without compromise" Milan: Editions Dep Art, 2017.

M. Franciolli, B. Della Casa, F. Guzzetti, G. Verzotti, L. Cherubini, G. Paolini, M. Minini, P. Maenz, P.L. Pero, G. Michelagnoli, A. Nieri, “Salvo - Boetti. Living, Working, Playing ". Lugano: Masi - Museum of Art of Italian Switzerland, Edizioni Casagrande, 2017.

Works by Salvo .

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