Glasgow School of Fine Art Sculpture & Environmental Art

Salvatore Capuano

As an Italian living in Scotland, I am influenced primarily by my cultural heritage and displacement which at the same time somewhat motivates me enough to carry on artistically. I find myself in a state of “suspended balance”, between two worlds in which I have had to adapt myself to change. It reflects on how I relate to my world and with my culture strongly affecting my art.

My personal experience has been the main inspiration for my creativity. Bridging a gap between my background and Scottish culture was hard at first to accept but gradually my new environment opened many avenues and possibilities in coming forward as an artist.

I like to work in 3D making sculptural forms, however, I am also adaptable to new experimentation. I enjoy research, challenging the properties of certain mediums, such as found and man-made objects. The final resolution is a result of everyday research and the selection of materials for their symbolic meanings. Through experimentation, I aim to develop specificity, giving a symbolic meaning to the medium selected.
Interpretations, playing with words, text, linguistic translation, social and cultural differences are now an important part of my work.

I like to challenge the viewer’s perception, building multiple layers of reading and interpretation in my work, and feel satisfaction when I discover an underlying theme or message; deliberate or not. It is like pouring over a cryptic riddle or a puzzle until at last, it falls into place. “Arte Povera” in particular is an inspirational approach that continues to influence my ideas.

However, my artistic approach is often both private and personal. Each new project exists in a state of precarious balance, between the privately experienced and the urge to reach a more wide and universal interpretation. My primary concern in art is therefore about maintaining my personal investigative creative approach while at the same time looking for opportunities for greater communication and sharing of ideas with others. In future my focus will be to develop the possibility of collaborative work and exhibitions.

Leash (Yond)


Installation – February 2021.

Fibreglass, wire, coffee powder, corn seeds, glass jar, printed clear acetates sheets, fishing pot (metal net).

Dimensions: H59cm x W80cm x D150cm.


A brief overview of my Artwork.

Naples has a really strong influence on my practice.

My city offers multiple faces, different historical and cultural influences, this mixture coexists in the same territory.

“The Sun” describes Naples as a dangerous city, it is always suspended, can express death and crime, but can stand by itself proud of its glorious past and present.

“Spaccanapoli”, which slices the historic centre in half is an artery road of the historical centre of Naples and is one of the most important streets of the city.

The name is a popular usage and means, literally, “Naples splitter”.

The name is derived from the fact that it is very long and from above it seems to divide that part of the city.

“Spaccanapoli” is a straight, narrow and dark street that cuts through tall buildings.

Natural daylight barely manages to filter through the roofs above.

I want to analyse this duality between Naples’s darker and brighter side which are the perfect representation of my hometown.

Natural light is metaphorically activating my final installation, passing through the cylindrical structure.

The light is shining over the darkest pattern of coffee scattered on the floor, it represents the light that filters through the roofs of my city over the obscure, narrow streets.


My new temporary Art studio.

Returning to Italy during the pandemic has allowed me to look beyond my studio space, making a new and stronger connection with my cultural background, my displacement which strongly influenced my artistic practice

My dad’s workshop in Naples became my new studio which has all my childhood’s memories.

The new environment has a really strong character, a connotation that influences my practice.

I found a narrative behind found objects collected in the workshop and this played a crucial role in making my art.

I challenged qualities of familiar mediums and my perception of the environment I was working in.

I played with juxtaposition of different objects, trying different layouts, testing visual qualities of everyday objects.


Visual Glossary.

The circle.

The wire circles are a representation of the bond within my family they contain the essence of my former Italian life.

“Being part of the circle” belonging to the family circle is something that makes us all feel safe, but a circle has no edges, no references, we forget how important edges are, the edges are the experiences and difficulties in real life.

The circle is the “norm” and most people have been raised in a metaphorical circle/cage in society, but they reject or don’t want to engage the change or fly away, only a few people open their eyes and see the circle for what it is and try to escape. “Being part of the circle” means to “be accepted” and is a metaphor for modern society.

The cylinder.

The cylinder indicates you are a channel/medium – you can communicate with spirits. A cylinder is typically open at both ends but does not have to be for the meaning to hold. A channel is open for communication in two worlds – the physical world and the spirit world.


Corn is a symbol of abundance, fertility and prosperity that you can expect in a future period.

Corn reminds me of my father because he used to plant corn and also, I can metaphorically relate corn to my journey.

The corn represents my willingness to embrace the change, hoping in Naples fast growth, rebirth.


Coffee reminds us of a ritual, exchange between people, journey and the sea.

The dark colour of the coffee represents uncertainty, the cloudy, obscure side of Naples.

Fishing pot.

Fishing is a frustrating thing if we don’t choose the right spot.

The fishing pot is a metaphor for my detachment from my hometown because I am still looking for my right spot, my true home.

Printed clear acetates sheets in the glass jar.

Experiment with text using the Neapolitan language to relate the tradition and primitiveness in my language (Neapolitan) which I find closest to who I am.

The words on acetate translated from Neapolitan as “frightened, hopeless, sorrowful, etc”, all express how I found myself silencing my willingness to embrace the new.

In Naples, I am baffled by my fellow citizens, that they refuse to embrace change, to accept a different reality.

Leash (Yond)

Installation – March 2021.

Wood, fibreglass, rope, grappling hook, coffee powder, led light, cuttlefish bones, metallic hook.

Dimensions: H125.5cm x W128cm x D158cm


A brief overview of my Artwork.

Detachment from my hometown Naples not only has helped me to understand who I truly am as an individual but also analysed the true essence of the relationship I have with the city. My cultural displacement is a form of self-reflection which gives a better understanding of my research.

The artwork expresses my search for a true home in relation to feeling dislocated from my birthplace. I wanted to throw, metaphorically, an anchor over my hometown, Naples, to reach a different destination, destiny, being more open-minded while I am still chained, tied to my cultural heritage.My fixed Italian mindset, ideas and values were firmly anchored in my mind, and this led in the past, to automatic decisions and behaviours.Moving abroad has altered my perception, it made me reconsider my personal and cultural values.

Neapolitans are superstitious, they believe in luck, fate… they seem to endlessly wait for something to happen.

Neapolitans don’t like to question things; they don’t like change and I always find that I am alone and isolated in my willingness to embrace the new.

Naples on the surface seems to never change and this is in strong contrast with its alterable, “tumultuous underground”. I consider the territorial morphology of my hometown to be an effective metaphor in which I reflect my displacement. The ground changed position through history because my city lies on many active volcanoes. The collective imaginary of a future catastrophic eruption, projects this sense of instability of the land.

Naples is also one of the clearest examples of cities where history can be traced through its “layers”. The Greek and Roman Neapolis and the present-day city are not separated by millennia but metres of soil under the ground.

In my installation I placed a LED light below a fibreglass sheet which forces the light to bounce back to the floor illuminating part of it. I wanted to create the illusion of space, a layer that reveals itself beyond mere visual perception, revealing a fracture, a collision point between past and present, change and tradition.


Visual Glossary.

  • The grappling hook/anchor.

The grappling hook is a great metaphor I also reference to myself.

It can be a negative thing in that it is something that keeps me from moving forward.

I threw my anchor beyond what was holding me back.

To dream of a grappling hook also represents the security of choices or goals. You want to ensure or be confident about something before you proceed with it. You may want to guarantee an outcome before pursuing it.

  • Rope.

Often rope dreams will indicate personal aspirations, how you go about achieving goals, or simple reminders to settle down in your life.

  • The cuttlefish bone.

The cuttlefish bone on top of the wooden post is a representation of Naples which has forgotten its glorious past and has been abandoned to its destiny like a bone left, forgotten, brought from the sea waves to the shore. The cuttlefish bone is elevated from the ground, and it assumes religious connotation symbolising how Neapolitans warship an empty shell (Naples) which has been deprived of its real essence/value.

The modern Naples is often depicted as the city of death and it seems that Neapolitans are unaware of their glorious past.

  • Coffee.

Coffee represents the new cultural awakening.

I used coffee powder to indicate how Neapolitans hold back from moving forward.


If there is something in your life that keeps rearing its ugly head and appears as a black spot (coffee powder) in your life that keeps you from moving forward, it’s time to let the rope go into the sea with the anchor and move on.