Pandemonio by Sergio Padovani, at Musei di San Sal...

Pandemonio by Sergio Padovani, at Musei di San Salvatore in Lauro in Rome

Within the wonderful historical venue of Musei di San Salvatore in Lauro, the Roman preview of Pandemonio, the travelling solo show by Sergio Padovani curated by Cesare Biasini Selvaggi with Francesca Baboni and Stefano Taddei, and organized thanks to the Foundation THE BANK ETS -Istituto per gli Studi sulla Pittura Contemporanea and Il Cigno GG Edizioni, opened to the public. So outlined, the event constitutes a valid opportunity for knowing the pictorial research that has been developed outside the artistic context of Rome, offering a wide selection consisting of sixty artworks, almost all of them showed for the first time and made recently. Moreover, the hosting cultural framework, being a monastery founded in the 17th century, reveals to be, thanks to its atmosphere, a perfect place for viewing a pictorial language that, as the title of the exhibition suggests, refers back to the category of the demonic, translated by the artist in the human terms of an inner conflict.

Sergio Padovani, “Pandemonio”, installation view at Musei di San Salvatore in Lauro, Roma, photo Giovanni Stella

The artist himself clarifies the reasons at the base of such an evocative name, explaining that the use of the word “pandemonium” in the title of the project derives, indeed, from his personal suggestions linked to the reading of La franca sostanza del degrado (The sincere substance of degradation) by the Mantuan poet Ivo Ferrari, from which «the word pandemonium has jumped out as the lowest common denominator of a universe of narrated images, at times even crude and difficult to bear». Starting from this statement, in fact, it is already possible to guess, albeit indirectly, the kind of the imagery proposed in the exhibition, characterized by a group of visions and references with a tragic, threatening and distressing aura.

Sergio Padovani, “Pandemonio”, installation view at Musei di San Salvatore in Lauro, Roma, photo Giovanni Stella

On this premise, the project – which will later be transferred to Complesso di San Paolo, in Modena – unfolds well through the rooms that structure the space, defining an expositive experience able to immediately project the visitor into the heart of the torment present in the paintings here included. These, in terms of emotional restitution, seem to trace an ancient and atavistic sense of disquiet, renewing, in our historical present, a sensitivity close to the disquieting and terrifying, concerning both the individual and epochal dimensions. In the artworks, this kind of contents and impressions is conveyed through a language that echoes, the legacy of a certain Northern European iconographic tradition focused on the depiction of ‘evil’ – referable to a stylistic genealogy that includes personalities such as Bosch, Grünewald and Schongauer – and which, in works by Padovani, matches with the moods of his subjective alphabet.

Sergio Padovani, “Pandemonio”, installation view at Musei di San Salvatore in Lauro, Roma, photo Giovanni Stella

Therefore, according to such expressive accents, the artist practices a grammar – as Biasini Selvaggi argues – «inhabited by a universe in excess, mixing classical aspects with dreamlike creatures with bizarre shapes caught in their atonement, on the brink of the abyss, the monstrous side, the anxieties and anxieties of our time». In any case, in the middle of a figurative galaxy with such apocalyptic features, there is an underlying hope, to be conquered and grasped, of a – as the curator defines it – «possibility of redemption for mankind», which in turn seems to allude to a mystery that extends the aesthetic force of the artist’s canvases far beyond the simple physical limits of their respective surfaces. Pandemonio, an authentic immersion in the abyss of symbols conceived by Sergio Padovani, can be visited until Saturday 9 March, 2024.


Sergio Padovani. Pandemonio
30/01 – 09/03/2024
open from Tuesday to Saturday 10.00-13.00 and 16.00-19.00, closed Monday and Sunday free entry
Musei di San Salvatore in Lauro
Piazza di San Salvatore in Lauro 15, Roma


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