Salvatore Siciliano, Martyrs, 2023
Salvatore Siciliano: Martyrs
Oct 20 – Nov 18, 2023
Berlin, Germany

Martyrs is a double premiere: Salvatore Siciliano’s first solo exhibition and JERGON’s first curated painting exhibition. Siciliano’s works exude his background as a choreographer and connoisseur of the pulsations of bodies, their tensions, their power, and their potential. These bodies are always excessive, always beyond themselves, coming together in a subversive encounter between the figurative and the abstract, between drawing and painting, between joy and sacrifice.

At the forefront, the martyr serves as a witness. Siciliano’s martyrs are martyrs in absentia, that is, in absence, without crime, without divine sacrifice, without a sacrificial altar, whether pagan or Christian. Siciliano’s martyrs testify to what a body can, as Gilles Deleuze would say, always go beyond. It is precisely this beyond that inhabits all of Siciliano’s figurative and abstract compositions, and to be true to this, the body must exude sacrifice and joy. This transcendence that the body achieves is evident to the viewer in the paintings themselves. This continuous excess, this unceasing overflowing is genuinely metaphysical, an act of the beyond.

However, his very own metaphysics has nothing to do with De Chirico’s metaphysical painting but rather draws much nourishment from the logic of sensation of Francis Bacon and the Italian Renaissance. Martyrs takes us on a journey made of the body’s fields of force, its powers, and inevitably also its vulnerabilities. In Siciliano’s works, there is an undeclared, non-perspective three-dimensionality that emerges from the intersection of the horizontality and verti- cality of the lines bodies and limbs lie on. There is rest and momentum, sexuality and desire, the heavy matter of the body, and the elevating fire of the sacred. The movements of the bodies lead the viewer to follow them into a shift of perspective, and thus, the body becomes allegory, narrative, storytelling.

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