Il Traviatore

About Pietro Roccasalva

Pietro Roccasalva describes his working process as “the opposite of collage,” by which he means he allows internal elements of the image to rise to the surface. Although his practice includes sculpture, installation, digital modeling, film, performance, and drawing, painting remains essential, serving as the “microchip” around which all else orbits. His painted figures show traces of religious iconography, modernist collage, and digital distortion, which collectively lend them a sense of simultaneous familiarity and strangeness. For example, in Il Traviatore (2011), a waiter carrying a silver juice press on a silver platter faces the viewer head on with a solemn gaze emanating from his Byzantine, elongated face. Fascinated by the contradictions inherent in painting’s ability to freeze time and movement, Roccasalva believes “the only chance for painting is to recuperate its power of simulacrum.”

Italian, b. 1970, Modica, Italy, based in Milan, Italy