Salvatore Puglia – Inventaire

Exhibition from July 6th to August 8th, 2015 

Appointment on Friday, July 10 from 6 to 9 pm with Salvatore Puglia, Rodolphe Burger, Philippe Poirier and Laura Serani, curator of the exhibition.

The Thirtieth Year  

"At the beginning of the 80s I was working as a researcher in the historical archives of Rome. But I felt cramped there and my quest for a given truth was already faltering. I was taking little pieces of paper from the files of the XVIII and XIX centuries, often scrap paper that had been used to wipe the pens of the scribes; I was making collages and watercolors that I sent to my friend Rodolphe Burger, who at the time was teaching philosophy in Alsace. Unbeknownst to me, Rodolphe was collecting these works and, when he felt he had enough, started canvassing galleries. One day in the summer of 1985 he wrote me that I was going to have an exhibition at the Adeas Gallery in Strasbourg. 

I took a train (at that time there were still night trains crossing Europe) and arrived at the Strasbourg station one morning very early. Rodolphe was waiting for me on the platform, accompanied by another big guy, Philippe Poirier. They accompanied me to breakfast in the only bistro open at six o'clock in the morning, the Cafè Italia. On the glass door, the sight of a poster hit me like a punch: Salvatore Puglia, exhibition, Falsapartenza. 

For a week Philippe, who had never met me before, helped me to set up this first exhibition, at the end of which I took the courage to leave my work and my country to see if I was also "something else".
Rodolphe and Philippe are, along with the friends who welcomed me when I arrived in Paris, the ones responsible for my presence in Arles, as an artist, in 2015. Everything you will see in this Inventory is their fault."  

Text: Salvatore Puglia

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A.W. chez les Hopi 01, 2011 

© Salvatore Puglia courtesy galerie Sit Down

 In collaboration with galerie  SIT DOWN 

About the exhibition at Galerie Huit Arles 

The art of history 

"The Inventory of Salvatore Puglia is a journey through time, a travelling in accelerated time.
An inventory of reality and an inventory of the work of an artist who collects traces of the past and uses several languages to give shape to his imagination and his words.

Historian, Salvatore Puglia has made history the subject of creation and, starting from old documents as well as classical texts, archive photos or family albums, he has been following for years a process of "artistic" rereading of history. 

By elaborating collective and private memory, Puglia pursues a reflection on themes such as cultural inheritance, the evolution of questions of identity or the use of landscape.
In his labyrinthine images and in the last direct interventions on the landscape or on his previous works, he often slips clues of the present, for a stratification of signs and messages. 

From Leçons d'anatomie and Inventarium, which we presented at the Fnac in Paris in 1992 and 2005, to Inventaire, now in Arles, Salvatore Puglia has not stopped widening the spectrum of his research as much in terms of the subjects of his investigations as in terms of the media used. A selection of his works of all kinds, realized in the last ten years, draw here a course which is articulated in and according to the so particular spaces of the marvellous house gallery of Julia de Bierre. 

Between the Wunderkammer and the propaganda office, a first small space gathers an important collection of "ex-votos" set in lead, publications, books, productions on paper and sound documents. An installation entitled "The Art of War", on loan from the ESPE of Nîmes, redesigns the courtyard, which one crosses to reach a third space, resembling a warehouse, where one can still find works, as if "accumulated" over time. 

Outside of any classification and without limits, his work results from a variety of languages, from drawing to video, and techniques, from collage to sewing, where contamination reigns permanently and participates in the "atypical" character of his work.
This great openness has led to the most diverse encounters, often at the origin of collaborations, sometimes punctual, sometimes ongoing, with philosophers, musicians, poets. At the same time, friendships, such as the one with Rodolphe Burger, have been punctuated and enlightened by common creations, from the cover of Beggar's Law to the new album and the lithograph of Rodolphe Burger & Philippe Poirier Play Kat Onoma, for which Salvatore did the drawings. 

With Salvatore and Rodolphe in Arles we already met in the summers of the 80's, when with our Italian friends we used to meet in the South of France, then with Dernière Bande, Rodolphe's band at the time, invited in 1986 - after the Rock & Photo, organized with Alain Dister and the Fnac Foundation - to play during the Rencontres, with the trusting complicity of François Hébel, the young director of the festival, and that of Maurice Rouquette, who had agreed to open the doors of the Commanderie de Sainte Luce to rock. 

Long after, a new appointment this year, with Rodolphe at the Théâtre Antique and Salvatore at the Galerie Huit where Françoise Bornstein and her Parisian gallery Sit Down, is once again invited to take up residence for the summer.
And, in the exhibition - alongside works on canvas, glass and mirror - a selection of video-art as well as drawings made for publications, books and records, illustrating the stages of an often shared journey." 

Text Laura Serani
Curator of the exhibition 

About the Artist

Born in Rome in 1953, Salvatore Puglia studied History. After working in the field of research, he began to exhibit his montages in 1985. Since then, his activity as an artist has always been accompanied by investigations into the documentary sources of the images, according to a practice that considers the traces of history as material to be transformed. "I first come across an image in a library or historical archive that strikes me for some unknown reason. The genesis of Salvatore Puglia's work consists of taking images from the past and then reproducing them while playing on the transparency of the supports as well as on the reading of the latter. "Salvatore Puglia inscribes the other" according to J. Derrida, and thus works by grafting successive identities. Alongside his exhibitions, the artist has published in the journals Quaderni storici, Détail, Linea d'ombra, Revue de Littérature Générale, Vacarme, Lo sciacallo, Mediamatic, Issues in Contemporary Culture and Aesthetics, Any. He edited the collective volume Via dalle immagini / Leaving Pictures (Salerno, 1999) and organized the exhibitions Iconografie transitorie (Rome, 1999) and Memoria e storia (Naples, 2011). Today, Salvatore Puglia lives and works in Nîmes.