Gino De Dominicis | Original prints, lithographs, etchings and illustrated books


"Is the public who is exposed to art and not the reverse."


(Gino De Dominicis)



Gino De Dominicis (Ancona, 1 April 1947 - Rome, 29 November 1998) was an Italian artist.

Controversial protagonist of post-World War II Italian art, he used different techniques and defined himself as a painter, sculptor, philosopher and architect. His work tends to become independent of both fashions and neo-avant-garde groups. Therefore, it cannot be framed in a specific artistic current: neither in Arte Povera, nor in Transavantgarde, nor in Conceptual Art, which rejected it by mocking it.

Gino de Dominicis was trained at the State Art Institute of the city of Ancona, directed by the unforgettable architect Ettore Guerriero. In 1967 he exhibited for the first time in the gallery founded by his father Mario in Via Garibaldi in Ancona, with works of figurative inspiration. After a period of travel, in 1968 he settled in Rome.

In this period, the Group of Via Brunetti, Laboratorio '70, formed by Gianfranco Notargiacomo, Paolo Matteucci and Marcello Grottesi enlivens the Roman art scene with goliardic performances of an environmental nature, moving the artistic expression from the place traditionally appointed to contain it, the gallery of art, towards the squares and the streets: from the giant birth control pills thrown in St. Peter's Square to the Guillotine transported to Piazza del Popolo.

De Dominicis joined the Group in 1968 and made his debut on the Roman scene with an artistic gesture made in Piazza del Popolo and documented in the short film Zoomtrack (1968-1969), which was later merged into the video Experiences presented at the inauguration of the MAXXI Museum in Rome in May 2010. In 1969 he exhibited the works carried out in the previous two years at the L'Attico gallery in via Cesare Beccaria.

De Dominicis' artistic research can be divided into two periods. The first between the end of the sixties and the end of the seventies in which the artist expresses himself above all through installations and sculptures; the second between the early 1980s and 1998, the year of his death, in which De Dominicis resumed his activity as a figurative painter, dedicating himself almost exclusively to it. The first of these phases is mainly marked by the artist's theories on the relationship between time and eternity expressed in the Letter on the immortality of the body published in 1970, the second by the work Second solution of immortality (The Universe is Immobile) exposed to the Venice Biennale of 1972.

The hypothesis of the Letter on immortality is documented by some exemplary works of the first period. Works such as the sculpture "Time, Mistake, Space" (1969), a human skeleton on roller skates lying on the ground holding a dog skeleton on a leash, documents the current condition of men: they are dead when they are still they appear alive, while carrying out the most enjoyable activities such as skating or walking the dog. The two films Quadrati Cerchi (Attempt to make squares form instead of circles around a stone falling into the water) and Tentativo di volo, both from 1969, testify to the need for men to pursue the aim of the immortality of the body although it appears impossible to reach, just as it seems impossible to be able to fly by simply waving the arms or to make squares rather than circles by throwing stones into a pond. Also at the end of the Sixties - period in which the mythological figures of Urvasi and Gilgamesh appear, destined to be represented in many forms and on many occasions throughout his artistic activity - De Dominicis exhibits some invisible objects such as "the Cube, the Cylinder , the Pyramid ”, shown only by their perimeters traced on the floor.

Under the influence of the Twelve Live Horses, exhibited by Jannis Kounellis at the L'Attico gallery in 1969, is the tableau vivant Zodiaco presented by De Dominicis in 1970 at the same gallery, in which the artist concretely represents the symbols of the twelve zodiac signs exhibiting living animals and people - a bull, a lion, a young virgin - with the exception of two dead fish resting on the floor.
Along this line, the Second Solution of Immortality (L'Universo è Immobile), presented at the 1972 Venice Biennale, consists of a human being in flesh and blood, Mr.Paolo Rosa, a young man suffering from the syndrome of Down, who sits in a corner while observing three works already exhibited separately on other occasions, namely the Invisible Cube, the Rubber Ball (falling from two meters) in the instant immediately preceding the bounce and the Waiting stone of a random general molecular movement in a single direction, such as to generate a spontaneous movement of the stone. The meaning of the work is expressed by the title and stands as an alternative and opposite hypothesis to that of the Letter on the immortality of the body, or as a hypothesis that the universe is actually immobile and that, therefore, all beings are eternal and immortal even when it seems that they are destroyed or dead because they are no longer perceptible with the senses: this conception is influenced by the theories of the philosopher Emanuele Severino according to which all entities are eternal, so the immobile universe of De Dominicis corresponds to being eternal of Severino. As for Severino, also for De Dominicis only a glance without prejudice can interpret what is no longer perceived, not as destroyed, but as invisible: in the installation Second solution of immortality (The Universe is Immobile) only to an innocent gaze and devoid of prejudices like that of the Down boy Paolo Rosa the invisible Cube can appear as such and not simply non-existent. In the same year that De Dominicis exhibited the Second Solution of Immortality in Venice, he held a cocktail in Rome to celebrate the overcoming of the second law of thermodynamics. In Pescara, in 1975, he held an exhibition in which entry is reserved for animals only.

From the end of the seventies De Dominicis has devoted himself almost exclusively to drawing and painting with representations of figures, faces, architectures with reversed perspectives, using techniques such as tempera and pencil on wood or paper, more rarely oil or enamel on canvas. With the painting De Dominicis renders a figuration of the condition of beatitude out of time which will be reachable by humanity in the future, according to the solution of the Letter on the immortality of the body, or which has always been reached by it, but without awareness, in based on the Second solution of Immortality for which the universe is immobile: with architectures with an inverted perspective, for example, he brings the vanishing point, which in the Renaissance perspective is located at an ideally infinite distance from the observer, right where the observer is found, making him live, therefore, in an infinite dimension. During this period he was invited to other events of international importance: in addition to participating in various editions of the Venice Biennale, in 1982 he did not accept the invitation to the documenta in Kassel, and in 1985 he won the International Prize of the Paris Biennale. In 1990, on the occasion of an anthological exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Grenoble, he exhibited for the first time the "Cosmic Magnet": a gigantic human skeleton twenty-four meters long, nine wide and almost four high lying on the ground, perfectly corrected by an anatomical point of view except for the long nose, a characteristic and recurring theme in many of his works.