Andrea Salvatori’s Sculptures in Bologna


Andrea Salvatori, Museo Davia Bagellini

La Vispa Teresa (2007), ceramic and porcelain. Image courtesy of MuseiBologna.


‘Mirrors should think longer before they reflect’. Jean Cocteau’s quote is a sceptical reflection on the appearance of reality as we perceive it. Are things really what they look like? Are there hidden meanings which are often overlooked? Rejoicing in these ideas, Salvatori places his works of art in the context of an ancient art museum in order to, at a first glance, bring about feelings of displacement and forge a rupture between the old and the new. However, this initial consideration is rather misleading. Salvatori does indeed delight in the provocative displacement of his art work, but his intention is not so much to break away from the past, but rather the opposite.

Salvatori not only visited the museum several times before carefully selecting what artworks he would use for the exhibition, but he also produced over 30 new pieces inspired by the venue itself. Thus, it seems that the deeper intention behind his work is to create a dialogue between old and new art forms. In fact, a great deal of the pieces exhibited are ancient artefacts which have been reinvented by Salvatori. Intricate ceramic and porcelain constructions intertwine with classical ceramic figurines commonly used to decorate household vitrines. Salvatori wraps and hides the original pieces inside his geometrical sculptures, creating new meanings and transporting the originals from the ancient into the contemporary art world.


Andrea Salvatori, Museo Davia Bargellini

Detail, Senza Titolo (Invasate), 2015, porcelain


Salvatori’s approach is extremely playful, as often his work is masterfully camouflaged amongst the museum’s permanent collection. Salvatori’s ceramic dolls displayed in glass cabinets do not immediately stand out amongst the other ceramic and porcelain dolls. It is only after a closer look that the visitor realizes Salvatori’s humorous and ironic touch by spotting the dolls whose faces have been hidden by cups or small vases. His figurines are surreal, comical and mysterious. Curiosity is aroused by the dolls’ enigmatic identity.

In Salvatori’s work, the old and the new seem indissoluble. The source of contemporary art is ancient art. There is a remarkable contrast between the dark, brown atmosphere of the museum and the sparkling, bright colours of Salvatori’s work. A staircase showcases 40 porcelain and ceramic vases covered by stunning lids whereby the artist delves deeper into geometry. Spheres, polyhedrons, rocks and everyday objects are presented in unexpected ways.


Andrea Slavatori,Museo Davia Bargellini

TuttiTappi (2013), ceramic and porcelain. Image courtesy of


His artwork Testone, a sculpture imitating Michelangelo’s David’s head, is placed on a wooden table, which further highlights the piece’s impeccable white finish. Salvatori’s piece is not situated in that particular room by chance. Testone is in dialogue with the museum’s collection, as in that same room one can find an 18th century sculpture of the biblical figure King David as well as Lavinia Fontana’s painting Judith Beheading Holofernes, which depicts a decapitation. In the same manner, Headache, a figurine of Mozart with a massive stone on his head representing the weight of his musical genius, is carefully placed on top of a harpsichord. Salvatori’s art is in constant communication with the surrounding ancient art. Old and new intermingle to construct and rethink the meaning of art and its sources of inspiration.


Andrea Salvatori, Museo Davia Baginelli

Il caso di Pandora (2016), ceramic


Finally, Salvatori’s Il Caso di Pandora sheds a more optimistic view on the myth of Pandora’s Box. When opening the box, Pandora is greeted with a fabulous column of geometrical stars shooting upwards. Once again, Salvatori has used a previously existing artefact to build his work around it, bringing it to life again with overflowing new connotations.

Gli specchi dovrebbero pensare più a lungo prima di riflettere (Mirrors Should Think Longer Before They Reflect), curated by Sabrina Samorì and Silvia Battistini, is on at Museo Davia Bargellini until the 10 April 2016.


Andrea Salvatori, Museo Davia Bargellini

Testone (2016), ceramic. Image courtesy of Iperbole Bologna

Andrea Salvatori, Museo Davia Berginelli

Headache (2013),ceramic and porcelain

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by Clara Ollier
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