accueil Groupe Novembre Monique Cabasso Chong Jae-Kyoo Xavier Lucchesi Olivier Perrot Salvatore Puglia Martial Verdier

... And maybe more    


Salvatore Puglia




The starting point of Salvatore Puglia’s work is the vast realm of memory. For him, photography has a well-known function: to record and stock the traces of the past. That is its normal use. However, his pictures do not look at all like the ones we would expect of an artist recording the traces of the past. His real subject is not memories – it is memory as a psychic mechanism that makes it possible for us to find an orientation in our relationship with the present.

Memory is a complex phenomenon and, as neurologists know it well, it raises more questions than it brings answers. It has fascinated men since the antiquity. On the one hand, as a faculty, it opens the door on the infinity of time, and, on the other hand, as a process of accumulation and selection, it often conceals what it is supposed to make accessible.

Memory covers what it unveils, because, even though it is a central element in our perception of the unfolding of time, it is itself subjected to variations that challenge any temporal logic. Salvatore Puglia exhibits this internal contradiction, which is inherent in the nature of memory and constitutes the secret core of its process.

His works are attempts to find, in the margins of history, in the areas where oblivion operates, some traces which are, at first sight, unimportant, but which are always meaningful. He works on these traces and associates them with recent or even more ancient elements that may be pictorial or textual. Instead of putting a forgotten aspect under the spotlight, he reveals it by showing metaphorically how it has been concealed.

The gesture of superimposing elements is essential, being both formal and pictorial, but it is also mental and reflexive. It is concerned with what is insignificant according to the present day doxa. Through the interplay of the layers of images partially covering images that represent associations that may be secret or evident, he reveals and unveils, at the very heart of the present, the fact that forgetting is impossible. In his work entitled “The Postcard”, Salvatore Puglia associates insignificant pictures he shot all over the world, in the stylized form of an imposing monument. This monument is a sort of cultural cliché of the city where the exhibition will take place. By presenting this shape with an accumulation of images that have no relationship with the monument, he pushes the paradox of memory to the extreme. Superimposing elements is a kind of operation of filling up: strictly speaking, he fills up the stylized form of a cultural cliché with other cultural clichés. Yet, it is not only a critical position. The target is the “eternal” cycle that constitutes memory, which acts, at the core of life and thought, as a sort of meta-project at every level of existence. Salvatore Puglia is well aware of the fact that the act of superimposing elements is the only way to reveal this unnamable presence at the core of thought, art, and life.

Jean-Louis Poitevin, Paris 2009
English translation by Gérard Mélis


clic and follow