Salvatore Mangione, also known as Salvo (1947-2015), was an artist hailing from Leonforte, Sicily. He relocated to Turin in 1956, where his artistic journey began to unfold. In 1963, he showcased a drawing inspired by Leonardo at the 121st exhibition of the “Società Promotrice di Belle Arti.” During this period, Salvo immersed himself in the meticulous replication of renowned works by masters like Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Chagall, which he sold at affordable prices.
Around the late 1960s, Salvo connected with the artistic movement known as “Arte Povera,” rubbing shoulders with influential American conceptual artists such as Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt, and Robert Barry. In 1970, he presented a collection of photomontages at the Galleria Sperone in Turin, where he playfully inserted his face into images sourced from newspapers. Concurrently, Salvo embarked on a series of marble slabs engraved with words, phrases, and names, such as “Idiot,” “I am the best,” and “Salvo lives.” He also created several ironic and provocative works employing neon lettering to spell out his name.
In 1973, Salvo shifted back to traditional painting with his notable “D’après” series. In these works, he simplified classical paintings by old masters and often incorporated himself into the scenes. By 1975, he commenced the Italie and Sicilie series, juxtaposing his name with those of esteemed artists and writers from the past. These pieces featured abstract forms and symbols representing their respective places of origin. In subsequent years, Salvo delved into mythological and archaeological themes, particularly exploring ruins and remnants of civilizations intertwined with landscapes.
From the 1980s onwards, Salvo’s reputation soared on an international scale, with major retrospectives dedicated to his work in Ghent, Lucerne, and Lyon. Since then, his exhibitions have continued to garner tremendous success in Italy, Europe, and the United States.