Salvatore Arancio

Salvatore Arancio’s artistic signature is photo-etching, but he works across a range of media such as sculpture, collage, animation and video. His main interest lies in the potential of images. Departing from their literal meaning, he creates new juxtapositions that are both beautifully evocative and deeply disquieting. He looks to nature and science for his sources of inspiration, while unsettling any hint of the sublime by re-framing the images and the viewer’s experience. His constructed landscapes contain a sense of both the familiar and the unknown that enhances their symbolic readings and implications.

Selected exhibitions: PROJECT 03: Data, Contemporary Art Society, London, UK, 2013 (group show); Le Ragioni della Pittura. Esisti e prospettive di un medium, Palazzo de Sanctis, Castelbasso (Teramo), Italy, 2013 (group show); Curiosity. Art & the Pleasure of Knowing (Hayward Touring), Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK, 2013, touring to Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Norwich, UK, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland, de Appel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (group show); Cyclorama, Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico DF, Mexico (group show), 2013; Alternating Layers of Contrasting Resistance, Rowing Gallery, London, UK; The Little Man of the Forest With the Big Hat, Federica Schiavo Gallery, Rome, Italy; Relatively Absolute, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge, UK; Solo Presentation, Art Rotterdam 2013-New Art Section, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; The Little Man of the Forest With the Big Hat, MCZ-Museo Carlo Zauli, Faenza, Italy, 2012; An Arrangement of the Materials Ejected, Spacex, Exeter, UK, 2011; To See an Object to See a Light, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Guarene d’Alba, Italy, 2011; Shasta, Federica Schiavo Gallery, Roma, 2011; Sentinel – PPS//Meetings#4, Palazzo Riso – Museo d’Arte Contemporanea della Sicilia, Palermo, Italy, 2011; SI-Sindrome Italiana, Le Magasin – Centre National d’Art contemporain de Grenoble, France, 2010; An Account of the Composition of the Earth’s Crust: Dirt Cones and Lava Bombs, Frame, Frieze Art Fair, London, UK, 2010; Catastrophe? Quelle Catastrophe!, Manif d’Art 5, The Quebec City Biennial, Engramme, Quebec City, Canada, 2010; Prague Biennale 4, Karlin Hall, Prague, Czech Republic, 2009; I giovani che visitano le nostre rovine non vi vedono che uno stile, GAM-Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Turin, Italy, 2009.

Arancio was selected for the Résidences Internationales aux Recollets, Paris, France, 2013; Sundaymorning@ekwc, European Ceramic WorkCentre, SG ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands; Wysing Arts Centre Artist Residency, Cambridge, UK and Artist Residency and Ceramic Workshop, Museo Carlo Zauli, Faenza in 2012. He has received  a grant from The Elephant Trust and attended The Art Omi Residency, New York in 2011, the Premio ‘New York’ in 2009. He was selected for Contemporary Art Society’s ARTfutures 2008 at Bloomberg SPACE, London and  for Bloomberg New Contemporaries in 2006.


Born in Catania, Italy in 1974. Lives and works in London. Arancio received his MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art.



“I am interested in how images and their meaning can be re-framed or re-viewed and used to suggest disquieting or evocative juxtapositions. I tend to play with symbols always aiming to retain a certain ambivalence in my work. Employing a number of different media, including photography, video, etchings and collage, my work explores the state of suspension between the real and the fictional through an emphasis on construction and staging.

One of my main interests is to challenge conventional ideas of beauty and sublime in nature and their relation with science. I’m interested in botany and geology and fascinated by the merging of myth and science in 19th century illustration, consequently I try to associate these notions with ideas of displacement and ambiguity.

In my ongoing series of etchings, I have focused on a type of imagery which was recurrent in the 19th century to illustrate geological studies and that later became scientifically outdated. I’m interested in twisting the original meaning of those images by digitally manipulating various found black and white etchings, creating several surreal and impossible landscapes. The scientific illustrations have been transformed into poetic and visionary interpretations of nature. The titles are originated from my archive of sentences collected from books on geology, which interest me because they already have a particular scientific but also evocative quality. They are intended to induce misunderstanding; there might be some reference to the images, but effectively there is not as they are just made up.

My sets of interests and concerns have also translated into the video trilogy entitled SKEEL, which comprises of three short animations. Loosely inspired by the violent volcanic eruption that took place in Mount Mazama (Oregon, USA) about 6,000 years ago, the animations were made by using found scientific 19th century black and white etchings of volcanic landscapes. The illustrations have been taken out of their original geological context to be digitally reprocessed in such a way to induce subjective reflections about destructive natural phenomena and past attempts of scientific description.

Lately I have developed a new series of collages where I juxtapose found geological illustrations of epic visual quality with modernist shapes. This new series aims to establish and question oppositions between order and chaos and to suggest a sense of human inefficacy against nature.” – Salvatore Arancio, 2010