“A rational and a creative soul coexist in me”
I have always been intrigued by Antonio Salinari. An artist who manages to combine traditional wood sculpture with digital technology. He named this technique Pixelwood. One sunny afternoon in July, we meet in a refined and deserted Turin.
So, Antonio, how does an engineer become an artist?
Who knows, perhaps trying to free the child who lives in each of us and, at the same time, to give value to the attitudes, experiences and skills we acquired in our previous life: drawing, attention to detail, design ability, passion.
So, you have two souls: a rational one and a creative one.
Today, it would seem an irreconcilable contradiction. Instead for Baudelaire, art should include a rational form, which stems from the head, becomes narrative and, so, is subject t o change and to express itself in ever new ways, nevertheless it should also pursue eternity, which is the more creative part, the one that generates form and beauty.
How can art excite?
To excite in a positive way, art should manifest itself in a continuous narrative that has the strength to generate meaning, engaging the public and encouraging them to identify and interact with values.
He creates his works reusing fragments of wood from the restoration of important historical buildings in the piedmont region
In brief, what is your message?
I’d like to make people think and, at the same time, be able to move them.
In your works, abstraction and figurative art coexist.
It depends on what I want to express. In any case, I always pursue the formal success of the work.
Pixelwood represents the protection of the environment and the meeting between traditional sculpture and digital technology
What were your thoughts during the lockdown?
My considerations were mainly focused on restarting. I wish it would not be based on where we were before the pandemic. I hope for a rebirth that tries to recover and improve what belongs to our thousand-year-old culture.
Let’s talk about the latest work you conceived during the quarantine.
It’s a project called “Oltre la musa”. It’s a reflection on the key role of women in the protection of the environment and the need for their greater involvement, especially at this particular moment, precisely with the purpose of rebirth.
“Oltre la musa” highlights the key role of women in the protection of nature
“Oltre la musa”: what does it mean?
In art, the woman has been an inspiring muse, a symbol of beauty, a goddess, a Madonna, a mother, a queen, a lover, a beloved one. She has been represented in many different ways, ranging from eroticism to motherhood. If on the one hand, we can consider the permanence of the man-artist/woman-muse dualism as poetic, on the other hand, I wish art itself would exalt the special harmony that women have with the rhythms of nature and the generation of life. It is not by chance that the word “sustainability” was invented by a woman. In 1987, Gro Harlem Brundtland, president of the UN World Commission on Environment and Development, said that development should meet “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. There are many stories of women that show how, following the ideas of women, it is possible to find alternative approaches to the environment: from Giulia Maria Crespi to Wangari Maathai, from Vandana Shiva to Naomi Klein and Greta Thunberg. In “Oltre la musa” this attitude of the female world is evoked by the reuse of precious woods, by sculptures that represent a female inner state to highlight the fact that, to be reborn, we need a kind of sustainability that differs from the one that is envisaged by the typically male rationality.
Antonio Salinari lives and works divided between Turin and the Susa Valley. After graduating in Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Turin, he worked as a manager for some leading multinational companies in the IT sector. In 2006, he met sculptor Franco Alessandria, who became his mentor, and gradually restarted to cultivate his passion for drawing, sculpture, and furniture design. His sculptures are the product of an artistic project that is constantly evolving and has gone through several phases, from Sperimentazione (“experimentation”) to Testimonianza (“testimony”), from Verità precarie (“precarious truths”) to Piccole utopie (“small utopias”), from Tentativi di volo (“flight attempts”) to Oltre la Musa (“beyond the muse”). From 2017, he has been creating works reusing fragments of Italian and exotic woods from the restoration of historical Piedmont buildings. This way of reusing wood fragments, which the artist called Pixelwood, symbolizes both the preservation of the environment and the encounter between traditional sculpture and digital technology. Since 2015, he has been featured in a number of group exhibitions, art fairs and biennials in Austria, France, Germany, England and Italy. Solo exhibitions took place at Galleria Malinpensa by La Telaccia in Turin in 2016 and 2018. He was awarded at the Biennial Art Exhibition in Monte Carlo in 2018.
Lorella Pagnucco Salvemini