– Interview with Jacopo Saltarelli (Norway)
I was born in Firenze in 1459. I know this may sound strange, but it all makes perfect sense. You see, I started out as an apprentice goldsmith. Soon, however, I found that prostitution was something I felt comfortable with, and liberated by. Through my work, I befriended Leonardo da Vinci, and became a model for many of his masterpieces. At the age of seventeen, they payed to sodomize me in public, and I spent two month in jail together with da Vinci and three of his friends.This became a turning point for me. After we were released, I discovered a paradox in the space-time continuum, contained in Leonardo’s asshole. I traveled through it, and was catapulted forward in time to a small cabin by the Norwegian coastline. Some young artists from the city of Oslo happened to find me, and after a bit of small-talk, they invited me to be the curator of a new gallery space. So here I am, back from the past to talk about the future.
What is the artistic field of your curatorial practice?
This is a question of specifying some form of limit to curatorial practice, something which I believe contradicts the basic non-meaning of the term. If you’re a curator who only curates video art, or collage for that matter, you’re already a stuck up, pretentious kind of guy, who seeks artists who adapt to his or hers designated niché one way or the other, and the exhibitions you create will end up fetishistic at best.
I like to curate artists which relate to some of my personal perspectives. Including, but not exclusive to, sexuality, scientific negation, blasphemy, perfection, beauty, rebelliousness, time, space and immortality. And also, things. You could say I’m a bit of a fetishist myself.
Is there a difference in curating different field of arts, etc. paintings, videos, interactive works or a piece of net art?
There is no reason why we should separate these fields and exhibit them as different practices. This is artes vulgares thinking at its most anal, and I dont think the material should be considered superior to the idea and context of a given artwork. In my youth the church was the only place to rock. Today, I find strict categorization close to impossible with the new, transmutational practices in this android age.
What kind of qualities do you think a curator should have?
Sadly, a curators traits is of an obnoxious charater. Public relation and sale, contextualization through media, projections of personal insecurities and so on. Overly charismatic and slick. A demigod wannabe. I think the curator is something which has emerged through the artists need to be collaborative, while still standing like a lone ranger on an heroic cliff. The lonely artistic genius is exactly that, a lonely arrogant man. Nothing gives us a greater thrill than satisfying our sense of exhaustion and ennui by polishing the bars of our prison cell. As jail, the museum leads to isolation.
Do you think that new and digital media used in contemporary art has brought new aspects to arts and curating? Yes or no, explain why?
BWPWAP? Yes, for me, I prefer keyboards over sloppy handwriting. It’s a way of immortalizing our own monologues. #YOLO
Work by Frido Evers / Saltarelli Salong
In times of “You Tube” and the Internet, do you think a curator is still needed?
I like all kind of tubes.The YouTube and the White Cube. One doesn’t necessarily exclude the other.
What are your curatorial plans for the future? What are your personal wishes, hopes and perspectives in curating?
Exploring the depths and caveats of art through Saltarelli Salong I also wish to materialize myself in a 3D hologram, exhibit works in a church, and travel back to Italy to see the social change of the last 500 years and feel the salt of the earth once more. The intestinal wormhole of da Vinci has taught me that money is a means to and end, the end being death.
“The Man and the Tree” / In SALT’s latest exhibition, Geir Backe Altern plants an illegal tree outside of the gallery
Photographs belong to Saltarelli Salong
What is the future of professional curating from your point of view?
Why so serious? That is my biggest concern. Art should not be dull or afraid of its shortcomings. Let’s leave behind this slick, slimy, unreasonably complex sociolect which contemporary art personifies to the point of neurosis. Contemporary art as presented today is the tragedy of perfection. The curator is often blamed as the legitimatizing force for commoditizing an ostensibly unapproachable field of useless innovation. But this is of course not the curators fault.
SALT (Saltarelli Salong) operate through weekend exhibitions, happenings, screenings, concerts and workshops mainly focsed on exhibiting young artists based in Oslo.
SALT is named after Jacobo Saltarelli, an apprentice goldsmith and notorious male prostitute who lived in Firenze during the renaissance. In 1476 Leonardo Da Vinci was arrested, spending two months in jail, along with several young companions, on the charge of sodomy with the then 17-years-old Jacopo.
Jacopo Saltarelli is now the founder, curator and gallerist of SALT. He was in his own time accused of being ‘party to many wretched affairs and consents to please those persons who request such wickedness of him. SALT believes this to be much the same service delivered by the majority of contemporary art.