Salvo Lombardo

Salvo Lombardo (1986) has carried out cross-media research over the years, integrating dance, theatre and visual arts into his art.

He is involved in the creation of artefacts in the performing and artistic fields together with his working group Chiasma, recognised by MIBACT as a Dance Production Body "Under 35".

Until 2015 he was co-founder and director of Clinica Mammut. In 2015-2016 he was resident choreographer at Anghiari Dance Hub where he created Casual Bystanders. In 2017 he was guest choreographer at Aura Dance Theatre in Kaunas (LIT) for which he created the performance Twister in co-production with Festival Fabbrica Europa and began his collaboration as an associate artist, for the two-year period 2017-2018, with Festival Oriente Occidente: as part of this experience he also worked on the project Reappearances for the Mart Museum in Rovereto with the involvement of the local community. Since 2018 he has been working on the project L'esemplare capovolto creating a cycle of performances, installations, conferences, workshops and the creation of the show Excelsior.

In 2019 he developed Bodies Moemories as part of the Crossing the sea project carried out by a network of partners between Italy, Asia and the Middle East. Since 2019 he is co-curator of Resurface Festival in Rome. In 2020 he is among the founding members of Ostudio in Rome, an independent space for artistic cohabitation and interdisciplinary research. In 2021 he is associate artist at Lavanderia a Vapore and curator of Interazioni in Rome.

In 1881 the Gran Ballo Excelsior, one of the most successful Italian dances of the nineteenth century, made its debut at La Scala in Milan. As its author Luigi Manzotti declared, it celebrated the greatness of civilisation against the obscurantism that forced people "into the darkness of servitude and ignominy". These were the years of the Universal Expositions where the achievements of progress, the industrial revolution, colonial imperialism and the affirmation of the concept of national identity and its imagery were celebrated. Given these premises, Salvo Lombardo, leader of the Chiasma company, asks what is the cultural heritage of the idea of the West from the end of the 19th century today. Which iconographies and imagery of the Gran Ballo Excelsior re-emerge today, in apparently different forms, in the representations of the "others", in the design of bodies, and in the negotiation of relations between Europe and the "rest of the world"? The play created by Lombardo is not intended to be a rearrangement of the ballet, but rather a re-mediation of it that focuses on the stereotypical imagery that the present proposes through its languages, its representations and its media.

This Excelsior of ours is therefore not a re-enactment; rather, it is a scenic device of re-emergencies that, in relation to its "utopian" matrix, proceeds in a "dystopian" and non-ordered manner, as you point out. Although it refers to an object of the past, it does not take pleasure in that feeling of "retromania" that is rampant today among the nostalgia of old exercises of power and "new" returns to order.

- Salvo Lombardo