Michele Salemi at Galleria Spazio, Bologna

Located in Vicolo Malgrado, just a short walk away from the centre, Galleria Spazio is a friendly art gallery with a promising future. The fact that it’s small makes it all the more alluring for it’s an easy stop for any passer-by who appreciates art like tapas, a little but often. The very first exhibition set up by the recently inaugurated gallery pays a tribute to Michele Salemi, painter from Brindisi who developed his career in Bologna under the guidance of Pompilio Mandelli.

Walking into the gallery what one first notices is the energy emanating from the walls. Salemi’s paintings are a burst of colour and vitality against the plain white walls of the gallery. Patches of vibrant colours merge with harsh brushstrokes creating lines which attempt to constrain the colour and push it towards figuration. They are the sort of paintings you’d want to have on your living room wall, for not only do they permeate the room with light, but they are also a pleasure to simply look at. Salemi’s paintings are a reflection on colour itself and its beauty, which lies beyond signification. The artist rejoices in the visual pleasure of pure colours and the emotional force conveyed by them.


Michele Salemi, Galleria Spazio

Albero Verde, 105 x 66cm, Michele Salemi, Galleria Spazio, Bologna


Looking at Salemi’s nudes, one might also recall Picasso’s Les demoiselles d’Avignon, for Salemi does seem to dabble in cubism. Through his geometrical deconstruction of bodies and form, Salemi examines the fine line between abstract and figurative art. A closer look at the paintings slowly reveals how the shapes, colours and lines concretise in human bodies, trees, eyes… linking the artwork to the corporeal world. However, Salemi’s approach remains ambiguous and elusive, always floating between the abstract and the concrete.


MIchele Salemi, Galleria Spazio

Figura Rossa, Michele Salemi, 60x120cm, Galleria Spazio, Bologna


This is reflected in the underlying sense of peace in the paintings, as if the figures were waiting for something; maybe waiting for us to decide whether they are indeed figures, or if they are part of a more distant, abstract world.

Michele Salemi, “La linea dura del colore”, Galleria Spazio (Fondazione Zucchelli), Bologna.

Exhibition ends on the 31st October 2015.


All images courtesy Fondazione Zucchelli.

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by Clara Ollier
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