Between Nature and Science
If there are still people who believe in the presumption that artistic creativity depends on an instinctive impulse, that has no relationship with logics, the intellectual debate and – moreover – scientific knowledge, they would reconsider their arguments in relation to the personality and work of artist Pino Di Gennaro.
Di Gennaro is a cultivated artist (not by chance he is considered a master of his craft, and authored a number of theoretical essays), well into the issues of our time, attentive to scientific and technological innovation; he is both an expert and refined manipulator of material, more precisely a wide spectrum of different materials, from the traditional ones, for sculpture, to the most delicate and frail. He realises works in papier-mâché, wax, polyester, aluminum, brass, steel, bronze, and so on; often mixing and melting materials into a single piece; he uses these physical tools to obtain a variety of effects, not contradicting one another, but leading to an interpretational scale in which they confirm each different meaning: hence they are not opposing meanings, but rather flows of events in a continuous metamorphosis.
To define his production according to a conventional formula, one can use the expression ‘abstract art’. It is certainly a pertinent expression, as since it was born, abstract art means the representation and transfiguration of profound meanings: they do not deal with the direct mimesis of the ‘true’ – read: what one sees with his/her eyes – but rather profound truths and profound issues. Especially during the most recent phase of his activity, a period in which he develops – with a twist – the fundamental themes of his production, Di Gennaro can not express himself in a descriptive manner; behind every natural element or historical event he sees a change of scenery linking up or drifting away. Hence his artistic language is not a sublimation of the real, rather an expressive formula that translates affinities and conjunctions: and, it is worth to note, when he interprets the profound transformations in landscapes from one image to the next he does not mean, in most cases, to highlight the rise of recognizable shapes from an unrecognizable magma, but rather the connection between shapes and their links.
Hence there is no object made of mineral material that is not, also, petals of a flower; Di Gennaro rather depicts mineral woodlands, aiming to underline their mutual identifications and the matching of the states of nature. And that is not all: some of the towering vegetal elements are one with the skyscrapers; as history also develops in a way that does not infringe the links with the previous phase, nature emerges from it rather than contradicting it. On this theme, much draws back to the imagery of this artist, who diversely represents thin stems on which he etches ancestral graffiti; it is evocative how he – clearly being himself, thus with his own precise personality – is able to express himself through thin, rigid, vertical structures, covered in schematic drawings, or with loose and viscerally dynamic thick shapes.
Moreover, he is able to deal with large size installations – for example his recent work ‘Monumento alla Pace’ (Monument to Peace), installed in the central square of his hometown Troia – or with small tableware, and even jewelry, not allowing small dimensions to mitigate the deep interpretative power of his works.
Work in which it is especially engaging to note, once again, the extraordinary and disturbing relationship between nature and history: falling stars can represent at times the night of Saint Lawrence or the bombing of Baghdad. Several works suggest questions that are both disquieting and exciting, over the future of science.
One should not think then, that there necessarily is a distance between the artist and the intellectual: Di Gennaro deals with fine philosophical issues, that are connected to ethical, socially committed questions; but he relates this with an intense physicality, close to sensuality; with a fantastic imagery of total seduction and involvement. He talks to all of us: we get his message according to our own sensibility. Personally, through his work, I look at the Universe with infinite hope.