Dialogue 34 | Salvatore Garau


Salvatore Garau (b. 1953) is an Italian artist from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia.

Garau studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze, where he graduated in 1974. In 1977 he became the drummer of the progressive rock group Stormy Six. After the group disbanded he became a visual artist. He had his first solo show in 1984. He participated in the 50th Biennale di Venezia in 2003, in the 54th Biennale di Venezia in 2011, and showed work at the European Parliament in Strasbourg in 2003.

In 2009 he had a solo show at the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain of Saint-Etienne, in France, in 2010 a solo show in the Caraffa Fine Arts Museum of Córdoba in Argentina.

Garau has work in the collections of several museums including the Musée d’art moderne de Saint-Étienne, the Museum Gallerie di Piazza Scala of Milano, the Museo del Novecento (formerly in the Civico Museo d’Arte Contemporanea), the Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna and the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC) in Milan. His 2021 invisible—i.e., nonexistent—sculpture Io sono (I am) sold for $18,000 to a private collector through Art-Rite Auction House, in opposition to NFT in artwork as a signal for Environmental protection.

The vacuum is nothing more than a space full of energy, and even if we empty it and there is nothing left, according to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, that ‘nothing’ has a weight. Therefore, it has energy that is condensed and transformed into particles, that is, into us.

Salvatore Garau

Hi, dear Salvatore! Our first question is could you introduce yourself? We would like to hear more about your background, your path as an artist, when and why you decided to create art?

It was probably something I never decided per se, I always felt like I was born with a mission: to create. When I was 7 or 8 years old, I was the master of my huge patio, imagining myself in imaginary battles between the Native Americans and the cowboys, battles that would last up to 3 days and my friends would come to watch these as if forced to watch a film (since in my village of Sardinia we didn’t have any). Thanks to my parents (two angels), I lived like a prince to play with my devices without any objections. Growing up, it was certain that I was to enroll in the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. But eventually after graduating at 21 years of age, I devoted myself to music. 
Salvatore Garau
I have recorded five LPs with the avant-garde rock band Stormy Six and performed in nearly a thousand concerts around Europe. By 1979, I felt a strong pull towards painting again. I exhibited in numerous exhibitions in museums and galleries over the world. Recently, I returned to the passion that I had as a child: cinema. I shot “La Tela”, a documentary inside a maximum security prison. I will stop here because it is not possible to narrate all things that have fascinated me in art.

What is your source for inspiration? What motivates you to create?

There is not a single thing in particular that does not motivate me to create, even this interview with you could mean new jobs. Everything is in front of our eyes, it is up to the artist to see things differently and I,  unwittingly and without any reason, see everything through other perspectives.

We can see that your artwork invites imagination that is very universal. What do you expect from the audiences about your artwork?

Thank you for this consideration. Of course , the invisible sculpture, with the title itself, gives us the opportunity to create a form (or a thought) in our minds. But the same concept can also be applied to material painting. It is important to not understand everything right away, but give it a good thought with our heads. Even after having made a painting, if I understand it, everything about it bores me and I intervene to create in myself an awe that makes me reflect or question. I always try to look for the unexpected. 
I expect a flight of imagination from the people. Unfortunately many are disconcerted because they are accustomed to having everything prepackaged, the reasoning is tiring. Many don’t want to make an effort, which makes me feel attacked. But this is not a problem for me, I accept all comments.

We are very curious about your recent artwork Lo Sono. Would you like to tell the story behind it?

I will try to summarise/synthesise. The idea of the invisible has always fascinated me. I thought about the invisible sculptures without ever having had the correct opportunity to create them (other artists in the 60s and before with Duchamp, had addressed this topic in different forms). The pandemic was the perfect moment to narrate about absence. The entire planet was dominated by an absence of us being there. Here, my invisible sculptures are the perfect metaphor for a precise historic moment. I believe that they will never be forgotten.

Would you mind sharing your other artwork which has the same energy like Lo Sono and what is the difference from all of them?

It may sound crazy but the invisible sculptures are absolutely different to each other. In the public plazas, I pay attention to the context and what the city suggests to me. When it comes to the immaterial sculptures for individuals (that will be few), I would like to know where they’ll be placed and I’d get to know the collector, in brief, know more about his life, even though the little information that I get suffices, but it is necessary. In the void I see a lot of material that can form my imagination. The first important thing is “to see”.

If you could describe your art practice in just one word, what would it be? 


Anything you would like to share with us? New exhibitions, projects, collaborations? or planned ones?

I cannot talk about future projects but only immediate ones. Until now I have exhibited 3 immaterial sculptures in 3 plazas: the first in Oristano in Sardegna, the second one in the Piazza della Scala in Milan. The third one was about a week back in Wall Street in New York, near the Stock Exchange. In total, I will be exhibiting in 7 cities of the world. 7 because it is a number of spiritual excellence in many religions: judaism, islam, buddhism, christianity...I cannot say, which would be the next city as I am still contemplating.
Salvatore Garau. IL VIOLA GALLEGGIA TRA DUE ORIZZONTI (Purple floats between two horizons), 2020, acrylic on canvas,
cm 121 x 141

Thank you dear Salvatore for letting us to interview you!

More on @salvatore_garau

Translation from Italian into English: Priyanka Ragji

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