Salvatore Provino was born in Bagheria, near Palermo, in 1943. In 1962 he moved to Rome, where he frequented the studio of his illustrious fellow townsman, Renato Guttuso. In 1964, a Roman art gallery put on his first solo show, which was inspired by the places and characters of his childhood. Indeed, until the early 1970s his artistic development and the central themes in his work were greatly influenced by the rural nature of Sicily of the time, the farm labourer’s faces lined with fatigue, as well as by the paintings of Mario Sironi and Francis Bacon.
In 1974, following frequent meetings with mathematician-philosopher Lucio Lombardo Radice, he began to draw inspiration from Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky’s hyperbolic geometry, a theory that sees sphericity as a property common to many bodies, and geometry as the structure of physical space. In the work from this period, geometry becomes spherical, structures seem to hang in the air, and his forms are dynamic, very much in line with his on-going exploration in which mathematics increasingly resembled art. Indeed, intuition and creativity were seen as the basis of all theoretical and empirical endeavours. After a trip to Peru in 1979, his painting started to reflect an extraordinary dialogue between geometry and philosophy, the visible and the invisible. This marked the beginning of his mature phase, where a painting produced from matter and colour becomes the means for expressive research aimed at depicting a dynamic infinite world through meticulous pictorial execution and the gestural expressivity of signs.
Among his many exhibitions in prestigious Italian and international museums were his solo show at Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara (1979), Terra (Earth) at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome (1991), Fuochi ed altre folgori (Fires and Other Lightnings) at the Royal Palace in Palermo (2001), his solo show at the National Museum of Chinese History in Beijing (the first Western artist to exhibit there), the solo show at the Palazzo del Senato in Milan (2002), Sedimenti della materia (Sediments of Matter) at Castel dell’Ovo in Naples (2003), another solo show in China at the Guandong Museum of Modern Art in Guangzhou (2005), Effetti collaterali (Side Effects) at Palazzo Sant’Elia in Palermo (2012) and Attraversando la natura (Crossing Nature) at the Gedung Arsip National Museum in Jakarta (2013). Provino lives and works in Rome.