They’re young. They are full of ideals. And they want to change the world. Or, rather, redo it. Really, this time. A visit at saltinblu’s headquarters in Basel.
I meet Tiziana Pagano in the street in front of her studio, right in the center of Basel’s Old Town. Or rather, she meets me. I am stricken by her eyes glowing with energy, with openness, and I instantly feel welcomed. We climb the stairs to the small apartment studio. As she opens the door and has me enter, I step into a small but bright and friendly room packed with paintings, leaning on the walls and standing on easels. Tiziana leads me into the adjacent kitchen where amidst a literal forest of plants sits Eva Flury. Everything is small in here, the table, the bath tub, even the dog. But despite all this smallness, you can feel big thoughts in big minds with big ideas and ideals.
What is saltinblu?
Saltinblu is Italian and means „Jump into the blue“. Although saltinblu is a registered trademark, it is not about the market. The registration is rather a means to save the concept. Any kind of artist is welcome. Saltinblu kids, as they refer to themselves, are not exactly a part of saltinblu. Every single one of them is saltinblu.
The most important rule is that there are no rules. There is no commitment towards other saltinblu kids. The only commitment is towards oneself. Each kid lives his own saltinblu. They meet, and they exchange their ideas and their struggles. You could say, saltinblu is a social art space where you can go and connect and stock up on energy.
Saltinblu is meant to start simple and small, without anything written down, each kid supports what she wants to. To each his own saltinblu, here again. Everything must be alterable, nothing can stand still, not for a moment, because art is change. „saltinblu is a plant, which can be tied down or cut, but the roots remain and will always grow back, to a different form, but it’s still the same plant.“
„Sometimes you become aware that there is a black stench. You have to sit down and talk and try to find out, whether it stinks rather brown or green. And then you can change something in order to make it blue again.“ They definitely do think color.
So, why blue?
„Blue is the deepest immaterial color“. „Blue is perfect“. Mirò’s quest comes to mind. „But blue is energy, too. To jump into the blue means to just do it. To get up every morning and go on. Because if you give, you will receive.“ Blue is also the colour of the sky, of this enigmatic depth we can never quite grasp, which gives us nothing to hold on but ourselves, which offers freedom at hand and yet also brings what comes with freedom: the necessity to build an own system of reference.
What’s the plan then?
„I want to make the world a place you can actually live in. I’d like to drink from triangular glasses. I want to destroy the chair I am sitting on and find a new concept. We have to reinvent the world.“ They talk about a new world order. About a new way of perception. About radical change which builds on a completely different way to look at the world. „We have to alter the basic structure of our thinking. We have to dissolve everything there is to make room for a new self.“ So, saltinblu is not a bourriaudesque alteration of what has been there all along. It’s not an innovation. It’s a reset. It’s a revolution.
What will come next?
„Art will go back to quality. A piece of art is a donation to the world. Art is not about the buyer“, l’art est pour l’art, once again: „Start thinking of the piece for once, don’t always only think of yourself.“ A piece of art will never change, it’s the people who change. „Since the French Revolution, there has been one thing which was never implemented. We’ve never made it to fraternité.“ To get there, we really need a revolutionary change in thinking. After Postmodernism, Altermodernism is not enough: the new rhythm requires a new perception, a new gnosis, new concepts and new words, and, above all, a new consciousness.
My head hums with thoughts and emotion as I say goodbye to Tiziana and Eva and descend the stairs. Upon exiting the building, I find myself again in the real world of a buzzing summer Wednesday evening in Basel’s Old Town, with movie theaters and coffee houses and pubs and lots of people. And after some time I realize that there is still a smile on my face and I am still full with emotion and enthusiasm. As long as there are such things like saltinblu, there is no doubt: the future holds good things. And there is a great time to come. I am looking forward to jump into my own blue.