Gino De Dominicis

A charismatic figure whose work takes a wide variety of expressive forms, over the course of his career Gino De Dominicis addressed fundamental themes such as death, immortality, the end of history, and the role of art and of the artist. His works constitute a continuous invitation to reflection and contemplation, in an idealistic attempt to arrest the irreversibility of time through artistic practice. Refusing to assign any documentary value to photographs of his works, during his lifetime De Dominicis chose to not authorize the publication of images, even to the point of not cooperating with the production of books or catalogues.
According to the artist, art is created in the absolute “here and now”, in a time that lies beyond everyday experience and relates, instead, to a cosmic event. In Senza titolo (Untitled), 1967–69, the pointed tip of a long gilded pole grazes the edge of a bulky mass. The point of contact between the lightness of the sharp metal object and the heaviness of the stone is reduced to an infinitesimal surface, seemingly incapable of justifying the persistence of the state of equilibrium. The incongruency alludes to the possibility of an eternal time, a condition that the work affirms.
During his unceasing investigation, organized as an itinerary capable of traversing space and time, beyond the laws of physics, De Dominicis found an ideal correspondent in certain religious and philosophical concepts connected to ancient cultures, particularly that of Sumeria. In many works, he plumbed the mysteries of myths whose origins date back to the dawn of civilization, and he was inspired by the figures of Gilgamesh and Urvasi. The protagonist of the most ancient epic composition in the history of humanity, Gilgamesh is the king of Uruk, a mythical city in present-day Iraq. He makes a long and difficult journey to find the secret of immortality. The experience of the quest is also part of the legend of Urvasi, an immortal creature loved by a mortal man. Senza titolo (Untitled), 1988, is part of a group of works inspired by the hypothetical coexistence of the Sumerian king and Urvasi, created in the context of the artist’s renewed interest in painting. On a black panel, without depicting the subjects, the artist has drawn two white silhouettes, separated by the image of a prism. Almost as if this were the moment when both figures have glimpsed a long-sought secret, the two personalities contemplate the gem, in an atmosphere of enigmatic suspension.

[M.B.]

Artworks