Interview: Salvatore Milano
Luca Curci talks with Salvatore Milano during CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2021 – 8TH EDITION, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
He was born in 1942. He is Neapolitan, graduated in Medicine and Surgery at the Catholic University in Rome. Since 1974 he has lived in Brescia, where he worked as a thoracic surgeon at Spedali Civili until 2008. He is married, he has got two daughters and two grandchildren. He is active in voluntary associations. An amateur photographer, he performed his activity at the Museum of Photography in Brescia. He has dedicated several years to digital art, elaborating his own pictures to create something different from them. He currently makes mainly conceptual works, printed in fine art on cotton paper, and glued on hard frames.
Luca Curci – Which subject are you working on?
Salvatore Milano – The pandemic Covid 19 has changed our lives and art cannot be indifferent. I was very emotionally involved in this tragedy and I have made several works on this theme to promote trust and courage. Now I hope the situation can improve and we need to be ready to live with a new spirit, in harmony with nature.
LC – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
SM – I worked as a thoracic surgeon for over forty years: an intense and engaging profession. After retirement, I have carried out artistic activity at the National Museum of Photography in Brescia. Then I “discovered” digital processing that lets me have a grest freedom of expression. My artistic production is carried out in two ways. I process “strange” and insignificant photos on the computer through research and experimentation, to create completely different images, new and original, that can surprise and excite; a long and careful work of correcting and perfecting shapes and colours follows. The other mode starts with a nocturnal thinking that later becomes a project that I try to realize with many changes and which only sometimes ends with a work that satisfactorily realizes the initial idea. I dedicate a lot of care to an aesthetic refinement of the works, based on a sensitivity for harmony formed over time with visits to museums, exhibitions, study and experience.
LC – What are your thoughts while you paint? Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
SM – Ours is defined as the era of the image. Thus, the dramatic events of the world continually invest us and I feel the need to create and communicate beautiful and pleasant things, but also serious and positive ones, with intense colours and rounded shapes that transmit engaging, new and original emotions, avoiding repetitions and banal imitations, to cover at least part of the greyness. Thus, I define my work: “Emotional art”.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
SM – There is a lot of uncertainty in the world of art. Even the idea of beauty is vague and nuanced and contemporary art shows little interest in communication, which distances it from the universe of general culture and potential users. The search for oddities seems to prevail to arouse wonder and surprise in order to stand out in a vast magma from which it is difficult to emerge. And the artist’s life can be difficult.
LC – Do visitors’ suggestions enrich yourself and your art?
SM – I have been volunteering in a rest house for the elderly for many years and I offer them photos and also pictures of my works. These are simple people, from various walks of life, but all accustomed and encouraged to freely express their opinions. It is important to follow their evaluation times and encourage them to make comments, even if negative, and to express the feelings and emotions aroused, up to starting heated discussions among them, when they have different opinions. These people are very fond of the activity in which they are and feel they are protagonists and over time they have also become expert commentators. For me it is very important to check if I can convey emotions through my works, I value their judgment and put into practice the changes caused by their criticisms which I then submit again for their evaluation.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
SM – Digital image processing includes various increasingly complex techniques. Learning and practice allow the artist to use them in the production of works, gradually enriching the expressive methods both in shapes and colours. But also the mood and life experiences change the personality, influencing the artistic production.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the exhibition?
SM – Artists represent their own inner world that can be linked to the formation and cultural experiences of their environment. But, even if each of the artistic expressions start from a personal island, there are reciprocal influences up to the confluence in the great sea of the world of art which is by its nature universal. And genuine artistic language represents a form of communication capable of crossing all kinds of borders and does not need translation.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
SM – The exhibition of the works is an important step in promoting the work of an artist. At the end of an event, if he is fully satisfied with his experience, he will be happy to communicate his positive evaluation to colleagues.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
SM – For the first time I participated in an ITSLIQUID INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR initiative and I met architect Curci, a competent, friendly and helpful person, and his collaborators who are all very kind. In solo exhibitions or with few participants, I consider an Inauguration of the Exhibition, Vernissage, useful, with the presentation to the public of individual artists and their works. Given the participation of many artists, vocal interviews were recorded at Contemporary Venice which were then published on the exhibition website.