Exhibition: Salvatore of Lucan
Exhibition: Salvatore of Lucan

Salvatore of Lucan, Orgy at Castle Market

Salvatore of Lucan



6 – 29 JUNE 2024

When I looked through images of the paintings in Fancy Situations, I was thinking that one thing I’ve always liked about Salvatore’s work is how friendly it feels to me. I don’t often feel that way about visual art, quite the opposite actually- more often it feels like both me and the artwork are approaching each other with suspicion and coldness, sizing each other up. Here though, I feel invited in, and the invitation sometimes feels cosy and natural, like the domestic scenes that make me miss my family and friends and Ireland, and sometimes the invitation feels illicit and funny, something I’m not usually privy to, like seeing the blood of someone else’s sex which makes me feel giddy and rude.


I think part of why I feel at home in this work is that there’s something reassuringly of childhood in it. I don’t mean formally, of course, or that Salvatore is naive about his own work or intentions, but rather something to do with a lack of guile that is intrinsic to unvarnished physical desires. Need doesn’t stop after childhood, but we do learn to mask it, make it more artful and less abject. Here, need is as innocently and plainly overt as a baby’s, whether the need is for food or physical comfort or play. Mostly what I like and feel a kinship with is the need to mesh one’s own body and self with your fellows and your surroundings, leaking and spreading out into each other. I always feel a sense of proxy-pride when I see a painting of one of Sal’s friends, to think how good it would feel to be loved that particular way.

Then I remembered something else. I was walking through the park near my apartment and I stopped and laughed aloud at the memory (I hope someone saw this, I have been thinking lately about how much I like seeing people on their own convey distinct thoughts and emotions- people are so much more transparent than they think they are! I love to see them remember something and frown and shake their head, or grin suddenly at the thought of a joke or a person they love). I remembered that, although I am useless at drawing, I used to fairly often be compelled to draw the faces of people who were occupying my thoughts. This was a kind of devotional act for me. When I liked a person, I could never get enough of them, even if I was kissing or sleeping with them or lived with them, and I would make little devotional practices in their direction, like making mix tapes, or transcribing poems which were better than the ones I wrote myself, or by looking at a photograph of their face and drawing it.

When was the last time I did that, I wondered? I seem to have grown out of the impulse. maybe because I feel more allowed to ask for further intimacy and proximity when I want it, instead of building shrines and hoping they summon something. I recalled that the last person I had drawn in such a way was actually Salvatore, in the winter of 2019 when in the middle of a brief unfulfilled crush. I was living by the sea in England for a month, editing my book, living in a child-like way- staring out windows and daydreaming and listening to sad songs on the beach. I was cataloguing all the feelings I was feeling and the things which were transforming in my life, and I felt irritated, burdened by the crush and drew the picture to rid myself of it or at least commit it to some place outside of myself. That was a long time ago, before everything changed. I felt lucky to remember that drawing and to be asked to write for this show and speak from that time to this.


Megan Nolan

At the Kevin Kavanagh
Starts: 6th June 2024 at
Ends: 29th June 2024