I met Guillermina De Gennaro many years ago. I wrote about what for me was love at first sight between curator and artist: “… outside conventional circuits, you always find something good …”. I met her “among the white architecture of lovely Terlizzi, in an ancient building: distinguishing mark, a majestic mullioned window…”, as I thenwrote. Introduced by Cinzia Cagnetta, the owner of the Omphalos gallery, I discovered a delightful exhibition, rich in visual and sound suggestions, curated by Pietro Marino: “Adiòs”.
A complex butlight exhibition, already full of themes – farewell, departure, dwelling – thatwould become a kind of thematic obsession for Guillermina De Gennaro.
A special longing that permeates all her work, without becoming tragic sentimentality. A nostos that Guillermina conveys through her pale colors and sketched outlines, andthat emphasizes a sense of suspension: hermost distinguishing feature.
Digital paintings offered to the public through the technique of repetition, or rather of “fake” repetition, thanks to different small details – between similar representations – there where the almost imperceptibleshiny or dull patinaof the mixed-media paintingvibrates, a painting that she photographed and processedthrough digital media, recognizable in pale colors as well as in the objects of nostos: be they the regular flight of flocks of birds, the silhouettes of leaving ships, the whiteness of unattainablelandings, the bewitching and languid looks of oriental women or of teens caught in their becoming adults.
Memory is the leitmotiv. Memory, in which also time and space overlap. And it is accompanied by music, always. Everything is absurd and nothing is particularly defined in Guillermina’s old and new works. Then, is it a personification of memory? Uncertain by nature, crossbred as the enigmatic girls with almond-shaped eyes, who recur in herbest-known series of works or in the slow floating of the multi-colored faces of “Volver sin Volver”, so different, but with the sameintense looks.
“Volver sin Volver” is the work through which I shared Guillermina’s research. At first, in the dock at the Forte a mare in Brindisi for Intramoenia Extra Art.
To be able – together – to choose a magical place and define a situation and technical solutions for this visionary floating installation, where the incessant flow of water counteracts the “impossible” static nature of the massive floating portraitswith no landing, the whole accompanied by Giovanni Sollima’s cello. A work that originates from a state of mind, as the artiststates. “The element of water, in its holistic version, the sea, becomes a place of transit, where millions of hopes have drowned in recent years”. Andafter being a disruptive presence in Apulia, Guillermina De Gennaro’s floating installation came to the Wilhelmina pier basin in the Port of Rotterdam; a special project,withwhich INTRAMOENIA EXTRA ART migratedunder the WATERSHED brand towards Dutch waters.Itis an immersion in the sea of the past, a symbolic and dreamlike return to childhood’sland, experienced through images, but also the representation of that ancient and yet contemporarynomadism, shared by generations and ethnic groups, an attempt to visualize the feeling of traveling, courage and no return. A work that perfectly embodies that mix of cultures with which the European project “Watershed” – winner of the European Commission’s2012 “Culture Programme” – sailed towards the North, in the name of interactionamong different realities with a specific focus on landscape attractiveness and local identity. A project focusing on the delicate theme of water, in which Guillermina De Gennaro’s work becomes one of the best examples of versatile, polyglotwork, a perfect synthesis and an example of that timelessidea, which easily moves across different cultural, geographical and social dimensions, typical of the temporary museum promoted by “Intramoenia Extra Art”. That is why Guillermina De Gennaro and I, curator and artist, are so close. We areboth on the same wave–length.