Updated: Sep 13, 2022
Antonio Salinari: art creativity becomes opportunity & innovation.
Antonio Salinari has been working for some years as an artist of wood, passion inherited from a great master who also transmitted him a philosophy of life open to newcomers and in total harmony with Nature. He originally graduated in engineering at Politecnico di Torino and then achieved a well-established professional experience as a manager for leading multinational companies in the field of computer science and technology. In 2006, a special encounter marked a turning point in his career. Salinari was totally fascinated by Franco Alessandria, eclectic sculptor, pioneer of new artistic techniques in harmony with the Environment in which human beings live, on the footsteps of Richard Sennett’s theories. As Alessandria’s follower, he started then to express passions he used to cultivate earlier: drawing, sculpture, furniture design and photography.
After a testing time (Sperimentazione - Experimentation), inspired by the Muses as well as by the Myth of the Cave and a settling stage (Testimonianza- Testimony), where sculptures turn into mythologized concepts of modern society, Salinari’s Artwork evolved into a puzzle of interchangeable and modular fragments (Verità Precarie - Little Utopias). Finally, his artistic path aimed to discover the beauty and the good (kalokagathia) following the concept dear to the ancient Greeks. He went on to the point where his art was filled with further meanings, that is: the meeting and the knowledge of peoples’ cultures in search of common points arising from the unconscious (Piccole Utopie – Little Utopias - and Muse dell’Inconscio – Muses of the Unconscious).
The idea was born by chance as in the best of traditions. Antonio Salinari explains how it came: ‘In his long career Romolo, an 85-year-old cabinetmaker, had accumulated thousands of small pieces of local and exotic woods used in restorations of historic buildings in Turin. Pressured by the building managers, he was pushed to get rid of the piles of scraps and he told me that I could take everything as firewood. I brought all the stuffs into my mountain house and I started thinking that I could not burn them since they embodied Romolo’s knowledge and manual skills. A few months passed and I finally had the idea to realize a sculpture with these fragments of the past”.
On this basis, Salinari made his way to make Accessible Art strongly linked to the environmental protection, the legacy and the aesthetics. The first artistic installations were born to combine the sculpture to its frame, depending on where it was going to be placed. This is the essence of his Pixelwood project.
His commitment and capability led him to exhibit his works in major trade fair events in Italy and Europe and art galleries and to receive prestigious awards like the Biennale d’Arte di Montecarlo by Malinpensa - La Telaccia Gallery, in 2018.
Antonio Salinari (A.S.) shared some thoughts with MONACŒCOART® in a special one-to-one interview.
MONACŒCOART®: Antonio Salinari, where do you get the inspiration of your creations that combine tradition and digital technology? What gives you the most satisfaction in what you do?
A.S.: I don’t look for inspiration, but I am certainly conditioned by my background, by what I see, by what I do, following the lucky encounters with Master Franco Alessandria, with the ebonist Romolo Burzi and with the blacksmith Teresio Bouvier.
The meeting with Franco Alessandria, in particular, was not simply the stimulus to try to sculpt, it was the beginning of a new path of life. He taught me to free the child that we all have inside, a child who could explain what really matters: notably the happiness that comes from the hic et nunc, Latin for the modern motto “catch the moment, don’t miss the chance,” and from the sense of continuous creativity. In fact, Franco has often surprised me for the inexhaustible desire to promote new projects and experiments, a desire kept constant throughout his long life.
My pleasure is therefore in ‘doing things’, even if at this moment I make fewer sculptures, because I try to create always new objects of the highest quality.
MONACŒCOART®: To which work or series of works do you feel most emotionally attached? Why?
A.S.: In general, I am not tied to any of my works: it is as if once they have been completed they no longer belonged to me. Anyway, there is a series of sculptures that gave me more satisfaction than others: e.g. the ‘new chessboard’ series (Le Nuove Scacchiere). These sculptures represent the new challenges to face, it is no longer about the change of some rules or some moves. I know that I have to learn every day to ‘play on chess boards’ that are constantly changing. It is necessary to rely on the values of craftsmanship in order to restart again. This is the key message behind the series.
Therefore, a typically Italian excellence: technology and innovation but at the service of tradition.
MONACŒCOART®: In the Ninth International Art Biennale of Monaco, which took place in 2021 at the Hôtel Métropole in the Principality of Monaco, you presented "La Vela" (The Sail), a work that you created in 2020 with woods of various origins and chromatic nuances to represent the various cultures and peoples of the world. Can you tell us the meaning of this work?
A.S.: The work La Vela (The Sail) is part of the series Le Nuove Schacchiere (The New Chessboards) and it is the metaphor of the ecological journey: a challenge, a discovery, an action to learn more about the world, respecting the places and people that intertwine .
The safeguard of the Environment is symbolized by the lightness of the shape and the reuse of the fragments of which the work is made and they represent the different trees of the Earth with their various cultures.
MONACŒCOART®: In addition to your artistic activity, you have directed for several years the School of Sculpture of the Upper Susa Valley with a strong educational value aimed at new generations, can the Art of Wood sensitize young people to respect ecosystems and biodiversity? How do you judge this formative experience?
A.S.: In these years, I have been able to observe how the development of creativity, the use of manual processing techniques and natural materials, the necessary observation of nature lead young generation to spend more time in contact with the Environment with a healthy fun. Out of pure luck, the Laboratory is located on the border with the enchanting Oulx forest.
The combination of all this, often arises empathy with Nature in young people besides an active role which does not mean rejecting modern culture and technology, but giving value to every human’s need, only partly hidden.
MONACŒCOART®: What projects are you working on? What are the environmental and sustainable issues you plan to develop in your new creations?
A.S.: I am currently engaged on some projects related to the usability of art, creative tourism and the School of Sculpture, rethought as a ‘Workshop of the Third Millennium’.
The first one, Sentieri d’Arte (Art Trails), in partnership with some artists as well as key institutions based in Alta Valle di Susa and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Department, is addressed to transfer the accessibility of sculptures from their purely symbolic value towards a more open and inclusive place: Mother Nature. Thus, the land-art installations not only connect with the Environment, but they are slowly ‘reabsorbed’,taking their natural time.
The second is developing the Creative Tourism, a winning fusion between sustainability and experiential dimension offering visitors the chance to develop their creative potential through their active participation in courses and learning experiences according to each chosen tourist destination. ***
👥 ✒By Maurice Abbati
To know more about Antonio Salinari please visit: http://www.antoniosalinari.it/prova-biografia/