LIVES AND WORKS
LIVES AND WORKS
DATE OF BIRTH
Iconographic details, decorative graftings, all specially exaggerated or revised – these are the connotative elements of the work of Domenico Pellegrino, a Sicilian artist who has made popular traditions his internationally recognized trademark.
His Sicily of light, made of wood or metal and luminous elements, has become a contemporary icon, a new symbol of hospitality and a symbol of hope. The Cosmogonia Mediterranea (Mediterranean Cosmogony) project, which features Sicily as a luminous work, was launched in Lampedusa in 2016 and is exhibited at the 58th Venice Biennale, inside the National Pavilion of Bangladesh, after having travelled to many major museums.
Cosmogonia Mediterranea celebrates fallen heroes with its lights, together with those who by chance managed to survive. The project is dedicated to the migrants who attempt to land in Lampedusa. The artist has developed “an image of Sicily that recalls, while remaining completely autonomous, a vision of Dante: when, in paradise, he saw a river of light flowing between two shores, and from it sparks rising that would then settle on the surface and sink back into the waters, finally transforming into a white rose populated by radiant souls who flew and danced with children and angels dressed in wings of gold and white clothes” (taken from the text by Aurelio Pes).
Pellegrino creates “Macchine sceniche” (Scenic Machines) and the urban installations of the artist are defined by the art critic Aurelio Pes as “great works, designed for a much larger space than a theatre, rather as a germinating image in the squares of cities; and even in the alleys of misery and in the recesses of decay.”
Domenico Pellegrino’s urban installations burst onto the scene, illuminating or colouring a location, a square or a port.
Not just light. Pellegrino’s sculptures
become warriors or saviours of a present reality full of dangers and pitfalls:
an ironic actualized transposition of the world of paper, plastic or celluloid
from which our heroes were born.
A gallery of superheroes, revisited and corrected according to a unique conjunction of pop spirit and folk references, Domenico Pellegrino reinvents in his sculptural cycle several famous characters from the comics, creating life-size characters, brightly coloured scenic presences surprisingly catapulted into the present time, which becomes the scene of a bizarre fantastical invasion.
The Incredible Hulk, Spiderman, Captain America and Catwoman emerge from the comic strips to become three-dimensional objects with a powerful visual impact. They seem almost like faithful reproductions of the originals, certified copies of those unforgettable heroes who populated the fantasies of adults and children alike: Domenico Pellegrino’s hyperrealism, however, hides some misleading details, disturbing elements that betray the original image.
Decorative graftings borrowed from traditional Sicilian cart painting appear on the skin of the characters, changing their appearance and thus qualifying as revealing clues of meaning. The polychrome structures – almost classic in their intention, in spite of the popular and playful theme – are made according to artisan techniques handed down from generation to generation and they accent certain features peculiar to Palermo, certain character or cultural connotations relating closely to the territory of reference.
For the artist, Superheroes are ordinary people, and can be identified in American comic characters such as Captain America, Spider-man, Batman, Hulk, Catwoman, Silver Surfer, etc., which in turn are compared by the artist to the gods of Greek and Roman antiquity. The artist sees in Spider-Man the God Apollo, the only divinity that keeps the same name both in Roman and Greek worship, in Captain America the God Hermes, in Catwoman the Goddess Aphrodite, etc. He aims to highlight the duality and the relationship between the Gods of Greek and Roman mythology and his superheroes, new contemporary Gods, who contaminate the territory and are always positioned as statues on buildings, in places around the city, in the interiors of homes with constant proximity to rivers and the sea – because it is water that bathes the island of Sicily from inside to outside, identifying once again the Sicilian identity in the characters.
WHO I AM
I create Scenic Machines and the urban installations, i’m a sculptor and i work with light.
CONTACT THE ARTIST