Salvatore Viviano

»I never liked being in bed alone«


21er Raum at 21er Haus, Vienna

Februar 4 — April 6, 2015


Salvatore Viviano is always good for a surprise. His surprises are mostly performances, pictorial and sculptural objects, photographs and installations – or a mixture of all of it. At 21er Raum, the artist primarily reduced the space. Entering the space, visitors are facing a coral-colored wall with a little opening. Two images are hung on the other walls, a number was written on one, and a plush toy sits in a corner. The teddy wears a pullover with a print on it reading “Call Me Maybe” – a reference to a pop song by Carly Rae Jepsen and its music video, but also an invitation to give someone a ring. Whom to (maybe) call is left unclear, but a telephone number was written on the wall. 

The smaller of the two canvases shows an idealized flame, respectively the Tinder logo. That’s an app for smartphones  that playfully connects singles. A happy family in bed is on the second canvas. The faces of the advertisement photography are covered by Viviano’s own, who is now in bed with himself.

But then there is this opening in the wall. On its threshold is a kind request to put off one’s shoes. After entering, visitors can crawl under a relative low ceiling to another opening. Slipped through, one finds oneself on a huge bed. On it, there are pillows and blanket, a lot of books and a Walkman, a calendar and posters. Salvatore Viviano has settled in here, but not alone. We are all invited to use the bed – to take a hiatus and just hang out. And all of that not alone, but with others. Because the artist sees a bed not primarily as a private room but as a social space. And he of course wants to share this view with us.

So it’s all about human relations and the establishing of a situation enabling low-threshold interaction – like Tinder and similar apps do. In addition, the installation is a symbol of a modern melancholy and an homage to Viviano’s favorite piece of furniture. He even placed a bed in his One Work Gallery, right after it opened in May 2014: “Beds fascinate me, I love them! I think the bed is the best invention there is. A lot of things happen in bed. As an artist, a lot of ideas come up in bed, you sleep, eat, have sex. And it’s a comfortable place of retreat. Working in a gallery particularly means: waiting, sitting, calling, reading. I didn’t want to sit in front of a table all day. Furthermore, I have some back problems since a while. The bed was a logic answer. Sometimes I fall asleep, and wake up when the doorbell rings and someone comes in.”


Salvatore Viviano was born in Palermo in 1980 and lives and works in Vienna since 2008. Amongst others, he did performances and shows at Ve.Sch (Vienna, 2009), Pro Choice (Vienna, 2010), L’Ocean Licker (Vienna, 2011), 68 m2 (Copenhagen, 2011), Global Talks (Stockholm, 2012), Glockengasse 9 (Vienna, 2012), 21er Haus (2013), Albertina (2013), Limbo (Copenhagen, 2014) and Mauve (Vienna, 2014). Since May 2014, he is running the One Work Gallery at Vienna’s Getreidemarkt. When he was seven years old, he asked his mother to take him to the circus. She answered: “If they want to see you, they have to come!”


Exhibition catalogue:
21er Raum 2012 – 2016
Edited by Agnes Husslein-Arco and Severin Dünser
Including texts by Severin Dünser, Simon Dybbroe Møller, Paul Feigelfeld, Agnes Husslein-Arco, Lili Reynaud-Dewar and Luisa Ziaja on exhibitions by Anna-Sophie Berger, Andy Boot, Vittorio Brodmann, Andy Coolquitt, Simon Dybbroe Møller, Iman Issa, Barbara Kapusta, Susanne Kriemann, Adriana Lara, Till Megerle, Adrien Missika, Noële Ody, Sarah Ortmeyer, Mathias Pöschl, Rosa Rendl, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Anja Ronacher, Constanze Schweiger, Zin Taylor, Philipp Timischl, Rita Vitorelli and Salvatore Viviano
Graphic design by Atelier Liska Wesle, Vienna/Berlin
Softcover, 21 × 29,7 cm, 272 pages, numerous illustrations in color
Belvedere, Vienna, 2016
ISBN 978-3-903114-18-0