Silvio balestra was born on December 3, 1969 in Trieste, where he currently lives and works.
He is an artist who uses photography and in the past also computer graphics as means of expression. He started a research path in abstract and conceptual photography, mitigating the appearance of light in a black and white world where every “really visible” form disappears.
In the graphics his works are the Microsoft® Excel® drawing, works of digital graphics created, not with the programs common to the graphics, but with a software application that was born with the function of spreadsheet: Microsoft® Excel®.
His last research paths are: Concepts, works on photographic paper printed in ink and reworked manually with various pictorial techniques using pure photographic inks and the cycle called Monocromi Charta works obtained from incisions, scratches and removing color of photographic prints.
He has exhibited in several collective and personal exhibitions, in art fairs, in Italy and abroad.
In December 2009 a personal exhibition took place in Montreal, Canada.
For two consecutive years he was awarded the Merit Award by an important American photography magazine that published his works (B & W Magazine Ca USA).
Present with a work in the public contemporary art collection of the “G. Sciortino “.
He exhibited at the De Nittis Art- Foundation in Barletta Puglia.
On the occasion of the 54th Venice International Biennial, curated by Vittorio Sgarbi, he was invited to Torino Esposizioni for the Italian Pavilion.
In May 2012 and 2013 he exhibited as “MIA Proposal” at the Milan Image Art Fair (Mia Fair) and is among the selected at the MIA 2013 CODE Portfolio Lecture
In March 2013, the Cloister of Bramante Museum in Rome hosts a solo exhibition of the artist, curated by Giovanni Faccenda, with the exhibition of 80 photographic works that retrace his career.
In September 2013, the Orler Gallery in Venice dedicated a special television show with a personal exhibition.
In June 2014 his works are published on the volume of art “Internationale Kunst Heute – 2014” IKH publishing – Munich, Germany.
He was invited to the Triennial Exhibition of Visual Arts in Rome, inaugurated by the critic Achille Bonito Oliva in the June 2014 section at La Sapienza University and by Philippe Daverio in the November 2014 section at the National Library of Rome in Castro Pretorio, a his work was chosen for the cover of the catalog, published by Giorgio Mondadori.
He is among the critically acclaimed artists and published on the 50th and 51st CAM Giorgio Mondadori Modern Art Catalog.
In July 2015 he took part in the “Biennial of Photography Year Zero”, curated by Vittorio Sgarbi on the occasion of the EXPO Milano 2015, and exhibited at the “Grazie Italia” exhibition under the patronage of the National Pavilions of Grenada and Guatemala on the occasion of the 56th Biennial of Venice Art
In September 2015 he exhibited at the Gaudi Gallery in Madrid and presented it at the AffordableArtFair Fair in Hamburg, Germany.
From January 2016 his works are dealt with by the ARTEINVESTIMENTI portal of Milan, which during 2016 presents and promotes the artist ‘s works in his television programs broadcast on satellite TV SKY 868 and digital terrestrial.
In June 2016 his works are published on the international art volume XI International Contemporary Artist Art Book edited by Julia Adison for ICA publishing editions New York USA / Athens Greece.
In 2016 his works are presented in the dossier Fotografia della CAM 52 Catalog of Modern Art published G. Mondadori.
In 2017 the collaboration begins with the Gallerique Gallery of Chicago (USA) and the KontemporaryArt of Calgary in Canada.
In February 2018 the Municipality of Trieste dedicated a personal exhibition to the Sala Comunale d ‘Arte curated by the critic Marianna Accerboni. In April 2018, the ArteVisione art and culture Tv program curated by Laura Vianello for the Slovenian national television station Tv Capodistria hosted the artist for an interview and a special television show.
In May 2018 he was invited to the insertion of his works in the new “Atlas of Contemporary Art” published by De Agostini, which will be released in 2019.
The magazine Art&Law (June Issue) specializing in Art Law published by Law Studio Negri Clementi in Milan publishes an interview with the artist.
ATLAS OF CONTEMPORARY ART Edited by De Agostini – insertion
Interview published for ART&LAW June Issue , magazine of Law in Art – Negri Clementi Milano Law Studio
Guest in the rotogravure television studio of art and culture ArteVisione TV Koper Slovenian national broadcaster, curated by Laura Vianello
Honorable Mention 11th Color Photography Award – Usa
Trieste – Sala Comunale d ‘Arte, solo exhibition “Beyond the real, flows of thought” curated by the critic Marianna Accerboni, patronage Municipality of Trieste – Department of Culture
COMBAT PRIZE 2017 Artist Reported by the Jury
Gallerique Gallery – representation – Chicago USA
KontemporaryArt Gallery – representation – Calgary Canada
USA 10th International Color Photography Award
Work bought by an Artconsultant & Artadvisor Company – Santa Monica Los Angeles USA commissioned
of PRINCESS CRUISE SHIP COMPANY to set up Majestic Princess Cruise ship
Milan ARTEINVESTIMENTI Artdelear & Gallery only satellite TV SKY 868 show
XI ° International Contemporary Artist Art Book by Julia Adison ICA Publishing New York USA / Athen GREEK
CAM 52nd Modern Art Catalog by Giorgio Mondadori – Photography section
Trieste – NOWHERE _NOWHERE Silvio Balestra’s studio & show, Atelier solo show “… beyond photography”
in collaboration with BIM Banca Intermobiliare of Investments and management
USA Black & White Magazine CONTEST 2014 WINNER PORTFOLIO SPOTLIGHT Issue 2015
COLLATERAL EXHIBITION In Trieste Antiqua – Castello di Miramare Stables
FINALIST at the 7th International POLLUX AWARD AWARD Fineart Photography section
Biennial of Photography Trezzo sull ‘Adda – Milan Expo 2015 curated by Vittorio Sgarbi
THANK YOU ITALY collective exhibition Officina delle Zattere Venice patronage of Pad. Del Guatemala and Grenada 56th Venice Biennale
USA Winner HONORABLE Mention 10th Black & White SpiderAward Abstract photography section
USA Nominee 9th Colorawards
Milan – 51st CAM Catalog of modern art, Giorgio Mondadori editions
Germany, Munich – “Internationale Kunst Heute – 2014” IKH publishing – artbook
Treviso, Asolo – Asolo International Art Biennial, 1st place photography award
Rome – Triennial Exhibition of Visual Arts curated by Radini Germania, presented by Achille Bonito Oliva and by Philippe Daverio
La Sapienza University and National Library of Castropretorio – works on the cover of the G.Mondadori editions catalog
USA – 9th Black & White Spider Awards, WINNER HONORABLE Mention at the abstract photography section, international jury
Milan – 50 ° CAM Catalog of modern art, Giorgio Mondadori editions
Rome – Cloister of Bramante Museum, only show C 3: Creativity, Conceptuality, Contemporaneity
curated by Giovanni Faccenda, ArteInbooks catalog
Milan – Mia Proposal, Milan Image Artfair 2013, selected for Codice Mia, portfolio lecture international jury
Venice, Favaro V.to – ORLER Gallery – television special with Dario Olivi
USA – 8th Black & White Spider Awards, Nominee at the abstract photography section, international jury
Venice – Art in the city Venice, Italy Special Award 150th Art fair – group show
Project of the illustrations of the book of art for children and youth by G. Sammito “From the sea a legend” Campanotto editions
Milan – Prosta Mia, Milan Image Artfair 2012
Treviso, Asolo – International Art Biennale honorable mention for photography
USA S.Barbara CA – “International Contemporary Masters 2011” editions World wide Art Book
Parma – Artistinmostra 2011 Fair, 1st Award in photography section, finalist at Computer graphic Award
Milan – AAM Accessible art Milan – Spazio Sole24h
USA, California – Black & White Magazine Merit Award Contest 2011
Turin – Palazzo Barolo, Turin Arte 150 group show
Barletta – Zerouno De Nittis Foundation cultural center – group show
Milan – Art 2011 Award selected photography section, Cairo publisher
Turino – 54th International Art Biennale of Venice, Italian Pavilion Palazzo delle Esposizioni curated by Vittorio Sgarbi
Tuscany Fiesole – Roman Theater Gallery – group show
Rome – Openart Award group show
Rome – Rossocinabro Gallery – group show
Cremona – Galleria Gallery Spazio Arte – group show
Turin – Unique Gallery – group show
Treviso, Careano S. Marco Villa Benzi – New proposals for contemporary art curated by Vittorio Sgarbi
Verona – Luxury & Yachts Fair
Milan – AAM Accessible art Milan Fair – Spazio Sole24h
Turin, Villa Gualino – International Italy Arte 2010 Award group show
Germany, Cologne – ItaliansArt, Italian Institute of Culture group show
Florence, Certaldo – Italy for the visual arts Award
USA, California – Black & White Magazine Merit Award Contest 2010
Treviso, Asolo – International art biennial Honorable Mention in photography and computer graphic
Cernobbio, Villa Erba – AAC Accessible art Cernobbio – group show
Czech Republic, Prague – Brehova Gallery – group show – patronage Istituti ital. of culture of Prague
Verona – Cultural Association A2, Cargo 20 – group show
China, Beijing – International Artfair, World Trade Center
Tuscany Chianciano – Honorable mention International Photography and Digital Art Award – Chianciano art museum
Turin – Turin Photofestival 2010
Milan – Wannabee Prize International Art Contest 2010, finalist
Verona – Palazzo della Ragione – Artistic 2010 solo-show
Monreale – Museum of contemporary art public collection
Turino – Unique Gallery – Perfect balance, solo-show
Rome – Rossocinabro Gallery – group show
Ferrara – Estensi Castle – Artinvest Gallery (Rivoli To) – group show
Rome – Rossocinabro Gallery – group show
Triest – Savoia Excelsior Palace Hotel – solo-show
Turin – Arteinluce – Art Studio 20 – group show
Norway, Oslo – Artfair
Forli ‘- Contemporary ArtFair – Alba Ferrara Gallery
ReggioEmilia – Imagine Artefair – Artinvest Gallery Rivoli Turin
Canada, Montreal – Gora Gallery – Solo Exhibition
Triest – solo-show – City Hall Sala d’ Arte Comune di Trieste
In 2010 and 2011 he won numerous prizes, both with photography and graphics (International Biennial of Art Asolo).
For two consecutive years he was awarded the Merit Award by an important American photography magazine that published his works (B & W Magazine Ca USA).
In February 2011 he won the Galleries Award at the Parma Fair “Artistinmostra 2011” and was among the eight finalists for the Critics Award.
In July 2011 he was selected with photography for the Arte 2011 Prize, of the Arte Mondadori magazine.
In October 2013 he received the nomination at the 8th edition of the international photographic prize “B & W the Spider Awards” in the Abstract photography section.
In May 2014 he won the 1st absolute prize for the photography section at the International Biennial of Asolo 3rd edition with professor Giovanni Faccenda as president of the jury.
He also won the Spotlight Award 2014 of the American photography magazine Black & White Magazine, which in 2015 dedicated him an editorial with publication of the portfolio.
In October 2014 he won the Honorable Mention at the 9th “Black & White Spider Awards”.
In 2015 he won the Honorable Mention at the 10th Black & White Spider Awards International Photography Prize in the Abstract Photography section and the Nomination at the 9th Colorawards.
In March 2017 he won the Nomination at the 10th International Color Photography Award with three works in the Concept series.
In 2017 he won the Honorable Mention at the 11th Color Award International Photographic Award.
A major American Artadvisor company buys its commissioned work of the Princess Cruise Ship Company for the construction of Majestic, the latest cruise ship to the fleet. In May 2017 he gets the critical jury mention at the 8th Combat Prize.
Catalogue of Modern Art n. 52, 2016
Ed. Mondadori Italia
Biennale of Photography, 2016
Curated by Vittorio Sgarbi
Black and White Magazine, 2015
EXHIBITION TRIENNAL OF VISUAL ARTS IN ROME, Nov 2014
Curated by Radini Tedeschi e Philippe Daverio
Lecturer in the Semeiology of Non-verbal Languages and History of Art
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND THE UNIVERSITY
When in the first half of the 19th century photography entered the world of science, and then art, there was a kind of revolution – not only in culture but in aesthetic philosophy and in ways of depicting both the real and the imaginary. The development of cameras and the means of rendering images ever closer to what was photographed was extremely rapid, and if indeed art chose to move towards the abstract and the conceptual the merit, or as some would have it the fault, belonged in large part to photography. “Following the advent of photography, painting lost its historical documentary role” (M. Lupatelli).
The celebratory and documentary function was thus taken on by photography. Kings and popes stood for the camera in classical poses just as they would once have posed before the portrait painter. City-scapes and people’s changing habits were made famous by photographic images whose reproduction in newspapers and on film disseminated knowledge and awareness, making the world a smaller place. The artist, that is to say the painter or the sculptor, had no choice but to interact with what was happening around him, creating images expressing the experience of the changes to reality being made by progress. The abstractism of Kandinsky and Klee, the cubism of Braque and Picasso, the provocations of Duchamp and Arp, the quest for new myths from individuals and celebrities in Warhol and from things and objects in Rauschemberg – all stand as clear examples of making art which was a rejection of the pure representation appropriated by photography.
Avant-garde art gave figurative form to the fantastic, to rage, to hope, to the desire for freedom. It celebrated the invisible universe that the artist alone was able to feel and lay bare. This required empathy as well as observation, and synesthesia allowed the perception of what the five senses could neither read nor codify. In that period the photographer was a reporter, illustrating and augmenting the written word. At times his work replaced it and became an icon, as in the case of Nadar’s portraits or Cartier’s snapshots. Views of nature evolved into shots of the countryside moulded by agriculture, city streets were given fresh perspectives by Fontana and Roiter. In the 1970s the photograph became a poster and replaced the picture. The advertising image thus took on psychological values and had psychotic consequences. Rather than being stolen it was kidnapped – subliminal, scandalous and gossip-mongering, exciting not because of values inherent to catharsis but above all because it was answerable to highly influential hidden commercial powers. The photographer was and is supposed to be able to frame a shot, correctly juxtapose aperture, shutter and depth of field, and in a few seconds find a balance between full and empty and chromatic mass and the neutral zone. Today a photograph can be taken with a mobile phone that simulates the action of the old watch-the-birdie man who lifted the mirror and drew aside the cloth so that the light could make its impression on the film.
What this exhibition offers is the sense of astonishment that only an artist’s genius can create. Silvio Balestra has the sensitivity of he who lives and breathes art. A lover of ancient and Renaissance painting, he has a discerning eye for modern works with an ancient nobility, the poetry of he who would depict what only poets can describe. Perhaps this is why he spends time in Umbria and works with painter Elvio Marchionni, with whom he studies perception of the figure, neo-Renaissance art and the synthetic construction of the image with time (Chronos) and the symbols of ancient beauty (Aphrodite). There are clear signs of the study and development that Balestra has carried out on Man Ray’s 1922 production, but his photography is neither representative nor figurative in the iconological sense. He uses the photographic medium in its etymological derivation – the medium is light with no filters or parameters, and Balestra’s work describes its form and gives it figurative shape.
He studies the mechanical physics of light as it makes an impression on film. Light becomes a brush and gives figurative form to emotion, sensation and sentiment. When I saw his work I had the perception that what I was actually seeing was the image of an interior universe, a sort of mirror that reflected what the anatomical eye cannot perceive without synesthesia. Silvio Balestra’s photography is abstract, then, but his abstractism is not antithetical to mimesis, it is pure emanation of its creator’s interior life. In these works light enters the artist’s mind, illuminates his memories and makes experience memory. What the artist offers is the timeless ineffable moment that cannot be expressed in words. It is the flash which strikes us when we find ourselves able to feel emotions despite everything and everyone, it is the curve that describes a thought which becomes an idea and then action, it is that strange shape – unrecognizable to our common, trivially physical and physiological senses but unmistakable to those of us still able to risk our hearts and minds. It is in the union between emotion and rationality that the work of this “abstract photographer” is founded. He uses pure light as though it were pure colour, tearing through the black which acts as a border between the gloomy, negative compact background and the infinite space of the interior universe.
His language thus uses elemental forms devoid of recognizable elements – the eye scans the dark black of the night and is illuminated by a light taken by the artist from arcane, eternal harmonies.
In Balestra’s work black-and-white is dualism, counterposition and equilibrium, yin and yang. He manages to construct a remarkable harmony on his film, as if he had captured the invisible and the ineffable and enabled them to materialize and become part of the perceptible. A luminous line, a surface that becomes space, to be penetrated and explored. But his work is clothed in dynamism, in which line and form are in a state of becoming. The artist is able to arrest the moment – not for itself or simply out of rhetoric, but to enable the observer to empathize and enhance the moments to come. To Silvio Balestra time is an ever-present, irremovable entity. What colours it and slows its rush is fixing the emotion, the very movement of a thought or an idea, like the music of a soundless voice. His art is not surrealism, he invents no fantastic other-worldly or metaphysical places. What he offers is the vision of a concept that can have no word – as he himself says: “The artist is an entity engaging in wordless dialogue.”
Silvio Balestra gives figurative form to what par excellence cannot have a figure, he enters the very essence of the soul and lays bare its structure to the point of inventing a new way of rendering the work which is also a representation of the concept.
The titles of his works are gateways to the mystery of his creations: Dark silences, Escape routes, Fading scene, Oneiric oases, Light cells, Crossing the boundary, Breaths of wind, Birth of an emotion, Presences. In no way random or obvious, they are codes enabling us to read the route rather than the image, because the image stays like an instant stolen from the window of a moving train, a train which Balestra knows will never return to the station it departed from. But before the journey’s end this artist wants us to rediscover what is behind our feelings, and we would do well to let his light illuminate, at least a little, the darkness of our nights.
The light, the truth and some essential metamorphoses
«I always distrust what I see,
what the image shows me,
because I imagine what is beyond it,
and only what is beyond the image is true.»
It seems an oversimplification to limit only to photography those artworks by Silvio Balestra which instead play host to many philosophical underlayers. Although an original, dizzying technical skill matches it with clear evidence, it is rather the complex mental and emotional path that the author makes every time that determines visual perceptions which are also the final outcome of amazing abstractions. In short, to Balestra everything is a pretext for singular metamorphoses, so as to “influence” shapes, light sources and even moods to rise in an optical dimension permeated by two intriguing variables: the enigma and the archetype.
In such an imaginative territory, light illuminates and defines a reality that is otherwise invisible. The goal thus becomes the scalpel the artist uses to cut into the touching vitality of seemingly spiritual entities, swirling in the dust of energy and suspended between light and darkness. In this admirable antithesis – which is also the title of a cycle that is highly important in the future of the work that has so far characterized Balestra – some emblematic appendages stand out (L’innestro, Presenze, L’apostrofo) that represent conceptual apexes of an investigation beyond the threshold of the idyll, in those mind labyrinths wherein the physical consistency of an image retains just a remote and evocative echo. Whatever else matches, in the complicated genesis of each work brought forth by Balestra’s inspiration, the high notes softly echo of a temperament that is even visionary, led by its nature to listen to itself, measure itself and ultimately reveal itself through the real face of its suggestions. Looking at Nascita di un’emozione (Birth of an emotion) we see two streams of morphologically accentuated light floating ethereally against a dark backdrop like the casket of secrets concealed in the soul. Yet does the origin of that rarefied cosmos derive from “within” or does it reach you suddenly, like a flash of lightning? In what alluring way has the artist succeeded in transferring there, from his rich kaleidoscope, a portrait that gains, now from the perceptual viewpoint, more than our sense?
The questions – these and others – deeply drill in. A sign that what is indistinct, of similar immaterial symbols, floods the heart and eyes of those who behold them, irresistibly drawn. It contains an objective truth which we could even call ancestral, and which instantly establishes an intimate dialogue among subjects with a similar sensitivity.
The idea that Balestra loves to have a dialogue – naturally in his own way – with an attentive audience, can also be seen from another remarkable side of his work. Regarding Confronti (comparisons) for example – it should be considered, today, among the areas of excellence of the artist together with In progress and Space-Time-Life … Spirit & Matter – he shows a refined spatialist research in clear harmony with some masterful experiences, such as the Kinetics of Le Parc, Garcia Rossi and Demarco and the Minimalism of Castellani and Bonalumi: the sequences of the Optical orange, yellow and gray are, in this sense, not only a valuable and desirable continuity with such established leaders, but also a solid statement which is highly personal of an inspired artist who is not distant, it seems, from a thought of Man Ray: “I photograph what I don’t want to paint.”
A masterpiece – may we be allowed, for once, to use a threadbare term – is rightly to be considered Vibrazioni (2007), an eloquent peak of a photographic abstractionism that rejects the superfluous and eliminates the tinsel. It uses, if necessary, certain effects that only the most virtuous have, to drive itself towards the extreme essence of light, of feelings and things; there where that which one imagines pales into insignificance with respect to what Silvio Balestra succeeds in making us see and feel with a shiver.