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Twenty-one Songs from Paolo Salvagione


Paolo Salvagione. Orbit, 2012. Site specific installation in Marin Headlands, CA; carbon steel, aluminum, nylon, motors, control electronics.

The work of Paolo Salvagione summons a feeling that befits at least one definition of magic: “a quality that makes something seem removed from everyday life, especially in a way that gives delight.” In his piece Vessels (2012), Salvagione plays with the sense of smell, investigating the relationship of memories to the olfactory. Glass vessels reminiscent of vintage perfume bottles hang side by side; a squeeze of each atomizer emits a concentrated scent, such as that of freshly cut grass. His participatory sculpture Orbit (2012) engages all of the senses; a chair travels along a steel circular structure installed at the second story of a house, moving the sitter from the inside to the outside through a window, to dangle above and take in the landscape, and then back inside through another window.

Music helps Salvagione to conjure such works. During my recent visit with the artist, he talked about listening to songs without lyrics and the integral role that they play in helping him bring nascent ideas to fruition. For this issue of the ART21 Magazine, Salvagione shares twenty-one songs that have inspired him in the studio—from “Cloud Generator” by Tycho, with its syncopated beat and warbling drums, to Brian Eno’s Music for Airports, with its soft, meandering electronic tones—offering auditory insight into his process.

Salvagione recently finished the artist-in-residence program at Autodesk, and will soon settle into the residency program at Lucid Art Foundation in Inverness, California. 

“Now Playing: Paolo Salvagione” is also available via ART21 on SpotifyScroll down to listen to all songs via YouTube.

“Umbrella” — Dntel
“Sick Times” — Boards of Canada
“Heartbeats” — The Knife
“Go Do” — Jonsi
“Cloud Generator” — Tycho
“Ageispolis” — Aphex Twins
“Less Than You Think” — Wilco
“Watermelon Man” — Herbie Hancock
“Like Antennas to Heaven” — Godspeed You! Black Emperor
“Tour de France” — Kraftwerk
“Facing East” — Thievery Corporation
“Green Grass of Tunnel” — Múm
“Hilli” — aniima
“The Bridge” — The Knife
“Heliosphan” — Aphex Twin
“Dawn Chorus” — Boards of Canada
“1/1 (From Music for Airports)” — Brian Eno
“Ný batterí” — Sigur Rós
“Grow Till Tall” — Jónsi
“The Beach” — New Order
“We Will Become Silhouettes” — The Postal Service