Neo-Nature of bio-diversity
Guillermina De Gennaro’s work shows de-territorialised subjects as she works on her own identity and that of others in order to investigate the truths hidden deep inside everyone. For many years, her research has concentrated on portraits as a means of revealing the soul; the diaphanous faces she depicts (photographs or acrylics) create a more acute feeling of the ‘remoteness’ and ‘distance’ that are important keywords of her artistic identity.
She embarked upon her “Neo-nature” cycle several years ago, abandoning the faces she loves to their destiny and to the changes wrought by time; they fluctuate and float on water or amidst natural leaves and branches almost as if they were drifting away towards oblivion.
The relationship between Art and Nature appears constantly in the general history of art, and the 1989s saw the beginning of the Art in Nature movement, with Vittorio Fagone as one of its principal theoreticians. Central to Art in Nature are issues such as ecology, sustainability and the life processes that characterise every living thing. The movement’s attitude towards nature is different from that of Land Art; the artist feels and seeks a partnership with the natural environment, overcoming the concept of man’s dominion over nature. Artists like Nils-Udo, Andy Goldsworthy, David Nash and others experience their artistic creativity with and in nature, aiming to change the way society views the natural environment, and using art as the means of communicating with society.
For De Gennaro, the age we live in marks a new possibility for a partnership between man and nature: not a relationship of opposition between man and the environment, but one of opening towards a new vision of existence, where the environment conditions human life, and this in turn completes and enriches the environment with its creativity, productivity and responsibility.
Man is not depicted as being separate from the natural world, but as an integral part of it. Therefore, we live in a material world; our bodies are made up of organic matter, and nature must be our companion.
Neo-Nature works are always site-specific, and they involve places like open spaces and city outskirts, botanical gardens, ponds, marine reserves, river bends and ports, as well as outlying and derelict urban areas, because Guillermina’s intention is to fuse art with her social and ecological commitment.
Another dimension she explores is the concept of ‘temporality’: the changes that time brings to her works. The plants and bushes in which De Gennaro frames her images consist of organic matter and are subject to change and decay, meaning that her works change with the passage of time. De Gennaro’s creations are intended to escape from the artist’s control and take on a life of their own, recreating very intense emotional associations.
Guillermina gives great importance to the senses and to interaction with the onlooker watching, touching leaves, breathing in the scents of fresh earth and shoots, listening to the sound of water, and wave movement… The spiritual and tactile connotations of Neo-Nature are even stronger than their visual impact, since they reconcile spirit and matter, the universal and the specific, thought and sensitivity.
Dir. Fondazione Museo Pino Pascali