Gino de Dominicis, Ancona 1947 - 1998 Rome
ProvenanceMilan, Galleria Tega,
Milan, Galleria Toselli,
Milan, Private collection.
LiteratureA. Bonito Oliva, De Dominicis a St. Moritz, catalogue of the exhibition, Milano, Electa, 2010, pp. 50–51.
I. Tomassoni, Gino De Dominicis. Catalogo Ragionato, Milano, Skira, 2011, pp.386-387, n. 383.
A. D'Amico in Gino De Dominicis. Teoremi figurativi, catalogue of the exhibition ed. V. Sgarbi, Cinisello Balsamo 2011, pp. 106–107.
ExhibitionsSt. Moritz Art Masters, Engadiner Museum, De Dominicis a St. Moritz, 27 August 2010–5 September 2010.
Venice, Galleria G. Franchetti, Ca' d'Oro, Gino De Dominicis. Teoremi figurativi, 4 June–30 September 2011.
Gino de Dominicis’s Untitled (1996–98) depicts a squared head in profile, distinguished by a long beak-like nose indicated by a continuous line that starts from the arch of the eyebrow. A sky studded with stars and punctuated by the rounded form of a full moon stands as a backdrop to the bust-length figure, which in turn engages in a mute dialogue with the mystery of interplanetary space, coalescing into an almost topographical feature and then dissolving into its essential humanity over and over again.
The present work finds a precursor in a series of portraits of the artist at work dating from about 1996, in which De Dominicis depicted himself with a large helmet-head, as recorded in a photograph that first appeared in Il Giornale dell'Arte for December 1991 (no. 95, p. 49); in a corner of his studio, seated at opposite sides of a table, are a nude model and the artist, wearing a strange helmet, as if to evoke the image of a cosmonaut.
Over the course of his philosophically charged career, De Dominicis was obsessed by ideas of immortality and invisibility, and strove in his works to express the power of a higher consciousness and a sense of the eternal. In his paintings of the late 1980s and early 1990s, including the present work, his extreme abstraction of form and figure into suggestive silhouettes offers hints of ethereal realms and indecipherable existences. Here, by flattening the head and eliminating all details save its prominent nose, he has distilled his subject to its purest, most timeless, essence. Rendering the form in gold leaf, a medium associated from time immemorial with divinity and otherworldly realms, and posing it against the infinity of the night sky, the artist assumes the impossible vantage point of an otherworldly being in creating a sacred artefact suggestive of both subject and maker’s transcendent states of being.
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