The Organic Symbolism of Pino Di Gennaro
Pino Di Gennaro (b. 1951) is a clearly established sculptor, he moved to Milan at a very young age, towards the end of the 1960s, and was an understudy of Alik Cavaliere in the early 1970s and of sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro from 1972 to 1983. A high-profile apprenticeship that allowed him to gain the craft and then write each chapter of his own personal journey. His active and coherent involvement in all aspects of the international cultural debate allowed him to monitor and stimulate the needs of the contemporary sculpture discourse, often with a very personal physiognomy and originality, and to take his place as one of the most relevant artist of the contemporary avant-garde. He revived the human myths of mediterranean classic culture, researching for purity through clear, pensive shapes, in a context of organic symbolism of a naturalistic kind that exalts not only certain historical/cultural myths, but also deepens the theme of life, the universe and the power of germinal symbols. His research begins from a certain spiritual vision, or a human way of life, when facing the relation between the forces of creation and the natural world. This sculptor gathers – as few are able to – the vital strength and Dionysian impulse of living creatures, so much so that the shapes gather together till they convert into a powerful rhythm of masses. He long worked in the context of an allusive figurative art and, overcame this state of metamorphosis. So much so that his most committed research, thanks to the use of different materials, from papier-mâché to bronze, resin to steel, wax to lead resulted into a spontaneous and impetuous creativity, showing at times – like in the ‘Pillars of the Sky’ – cosmic architectures that draw back from a strong and clear monumentality, even though they still retain their chimeric element, and they take the shapes of totemic columns, certain testimony of archaic memories or synthesis of civilizations.
His journey is still today an adventure, carrier of grand ideals, that almost let through a return to primitive, symbolic monuments, that stimulate and open the spirit to a evocative conceptions of the imponderable- forces of nature. Di Gennaro looks around, he reads the world, he reads nature, the order of things and the space between sky and earth, dawns and dusks and celestial spheres; everything then becomes the place where real time is projected into mythical time and where the ritually ordered space-time becomes the centre of the world, meeting point of sky and earth. Di Gennaro recognises and recreates some suggestions that the combination of nature and human invention have always lent to the poetic experience, and through this symbolic monumentalism, at the edge of the evocations risen from the variable nature, through masses and voids, almost reaches the invention of a pagan liturgy. Fortunate results, reached thanks to the cultural and artistic depth that preceded him and of which he took account, such as the Futurist dynamism, Fontana’s spatial lacerations, the minimalism of ABC art. As we know, on the other hand, the most important things are isolated, and more intense, clear and powerful, so that these solid works recall, in the simplicity of their shapes, the works of some American artists, the Louise Nevelson of Sky Column Presence, and also Anthony Smith, Carl Andre, Robert Morris and Donald Judd. The latest developments have registered a passage towards a sort of Neoplasticism in which the heritage of Constructivism is resolved in some sort of wall squaring (see ‘Preghiera’, prayer, 2000) a metallic topography, fiercely magical, with voids and cavities filled by rolls that lseek an aesthetic language in the relationship between proportions and intervals, and whose words are the light, the quality of the metal, colour, shadows, and the use of space.
The artwork, of mural kind, has a certainly thought-after visual output, conceived for its integration into the architectonical structure. It is surprising how Di Gennaro is able to use different material for his sculptures and how his own personal –flow, –that- allowed him to free his constructive vocation letting in the plastic/architectonic cultures that stroke his imagination. Here geometry and mystery join up with the womb of the Earth, with the shadows of memory, with signs and ancient scriptures that relate human inventiveness. His geometry incapsulates gloriously the sense of mystery, the universality of life and the party of colour that creates shapes with an increasing clarity of intentions.