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Bio

Domenico Pellegrino, Sicilian, known as the artist of light, believes in the synthesis between heritage and future. With his artistic work he magnifies Sicily and its traditions. His works have been chosen by Disney for StarWars, he has collaborated with the fashion houses Hermes and Dior. He exhibited at the 58th Venice Art Biennale, at Manifesta12, in Palermo Capital of Culture. His latest major installation is the symbol of Procida Capital of Culture 2022.

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Dominic Pellegrinois an Italian artist, sculptor and creator of urban light installations.

He was born in Mazzarino, Sicily, in 1974, but it was in Palermo, where he lives and works, that he trained by attending the art school and the Academy of Fine Arts. His training and passion for art began as early as his childhood, observing the painter father and measuring himself over time with brushes, canvases, acrylics, clay and clay.

 

The beginnings
As a young student, he spent two years alongside Antonio Presti, in the years in which the Fiumara d'Arte was being built, and worked with great names in contemporary art: Hidetoshi Nagasawa, Fabrizio Plessi, Studio Azzurro, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Jannis Kounellis . This experience has made it possible to compete with different expressive techniques that the artist has used throughout his career: sculpture, painting, installations, digital and the use of different materials.
At the age of 22 he began to exhibit his works, participating in numerous group exhibitions that took him from Palermo to Vienna up to the XIV Quadrennial Art Exhibition in Rome 2003-2005 Naples with the work "Corpi discomposti".
The works were inspired by the most sophisticated technologies, such as for example the scanner, actually a vivisection table, where the human body was the fascinating puzzle to decipher.

 

Digital art
Therefore, having chosen the models, indifferently male and female, Domenico subjected them to the feverish scansions of the hot and cold lights that changed the colour; or the use of lenses that deformed the shapes, to realize with surprise that the scanner, far from inert, reacted to the different colors and types of bodies, both blond and dark, tattooed or hairy, transposing them into a phantasmagoria of colors , in an extreme and almost voluptuous deliquescence, which testified precisely the passing of the ordinary in the rarefied world of the archetypes, of the totems, of the speckled features of the Shroud. Here the levitating figures, as in the Byzantine mosaics, took on the appearance of petrified beings in the center of their movement. At the same time, chimerical beauties, highlighting themselves, attained more unprecedented proportions, solidary elements dissociated, and fleshy masses, almost in the absence of gravity, consolidated, unalterable. While variegated characters, in the tregende of the bodies, in the hallucination of the mirrors, changed into cells of the cosmos that are corrupted and reborn, to finally reintegrate into new life cycles. (Aurelius Pes text).

In those same years, Pellegrino measured himself with scenography collaborating among others with Roberta Torre and Giuseppe Tornatore.


Sculpture
In 2010 he returned to sculpture and created the Superheroes collection. Pellegrino's sculptures are made according to craft techniques handed down from generation to generation, the polychrome structures - almost classical in intention, in spite of such a popular and playful theme - follow certain accents typical of Palermo, certain character or cultural connotations pertaining to the territory of reference.

In the iconographic details, in the decorative grafts, in some specially exaggerated or revised features, Pellegrino's super heroes become warriors or saviors of a real present full of dangers and pitfalls: an ironic updated transposition of that world of paper, plastic or celluloid from which our heroes were born. His dazzling stuccos like resins represent the most advanced outcome of a tradition that dominated Europe at the time of Serpotta, thus embody a dual mythical nature, an identity that remains poised between the modern and the ancient, and reveals through each other. (Text by Andrea Dusio).

A modern Captain America in Sicilian sauce invades the halls of Vittorio Sgarbi's Mafia Museum in Salemi, as an iconographic symbol of that aspiration that focuses on the clash between myth and tradition in a clash between "cultures". Captain America fights against the Red Skull as a metaphor for the struggle for the affirmation of legality in contrast to the culture expressed by the mafias, which for years have inhabited and transformed our island and finds in Salemi a home in which to place this cross game of signifiers and meanings contrasting. (Text by Paolo Falcone)

In the same year he created the second sculpture from the Superheros collection: Spiderman\Apollo which was presented at the Palermo (.) exhibition, the collective which brought together the names of the contemporary scene of the Sicilian capital, from Andrea Di Marco to Alessandro Bazan. In 2013 it was exhibited in Miami in the Wynwood Art Disctrict price Dejavu Décor during the Miami Art Basel. Spiderman - Apollo was published by the important luxury magazine As If Magazine, exhibited among others at the collective Artisti di Sicilia, from Pirandello to Iudice, to Castello Ursino in Catania, and is chosen as the image of the entrance tickets to the museum, follows Pop up Revolution, Milan KEITH HARING & JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT EDITED BY ACHILLE BONITO OLIVA and others.

In 2015 in Milan he presented the entire Superheros collection at the Maimeri Foundation, in his solo show "Il Mito Contemporaneo" curated by Enrico Mattei.

 

The light
These two years marked another important stage in his artistic career, his work Sicily is presented to the public during the exhibition entitled Spazio Privato, in Milan, Galleria Giovanni Bonelli. “Sicily, the island, simply. Which Pellegrino transforms into a radiant oversized jewel. Designed with the famous street light bulbs, the luminaries, it is a concentration of aesthetic and poetic memories, an icon of icons, pulled down from the decorations of a sacred parade and resurrected as a fairy tale exhibit.” (Artribune. Helga Marsala).

HisSicily of light, made of wood or metal and luminaire, has become a contemporary icon, a new symbol of welcome and a symbol of hope.

 

Mediterranean cosmogony
The Cosmogonia Mediterranea project, which has luminous Sicily as its work, immersed in the waters of Lampedusa in 2016 was exhibited at the 58th Venice Art Biennale, inside pav. National of Bangladesh, and has traveled through the most important museum institutions. Mediterranean Cosmogony, celebrates the dead heroes with the illuminations, together with those who luckily managed to survive. The project is dedicated to migrants trying to land on Lampedusa, the artist has elaborated "an image of Sicily that recalls, while maintaining absolute autonomy, a vision of Dante when, in paradise, he saw a river of light flowing between two banks, and from it soared sparks that landed on the surface and returned to sink into the waters to finally change into a candid pink, populated by radiant souls who flew and danced together with children and angels dressed in golden wings and white clothes" ( taken from the text by Aurelio Pes)

 

The Venice Biennale
At theVenice BiennialPellegrino presents the unpublished work I'm the Island. Domenico Pellegrino, at the request of the curators Mokhlesur Rahman and Viviana Vannucci, investigated the theme of "thirst" (thirst), working on the model of the typical Bengali boats, dark wooden boats that glide on the mud of a country that sees itself swallowed by the water; and he picked up and knotted a thread that leads him to Sicily, to the ancient Rodolico family, shipwrights already mentioned in Verga's "I Malavoglia".

“My creative contribution, in symbolic and metaphorical terms, deals with the salvific and therapeutic properties of water, which is able to eradicate impurities from any organism – explains Domenico Pellegrino -. Purify and sublimate the phenomenal world from any negative connotation and transform it into something else, a work of art, in fact. The thirst for pure water that people feel is not only a physical requirement, but becomes an expression of desire for life and knowledge".

The boat inside carries the culture of a living people (symbolized by light) and protected by the boat itself, like two hands holding the most important thing in the world. The lights redesign some Bangladeshi decorations, elements borrowed from nature, rewritten and redesigned through Sicilian culture.

The workI'm the Islandit was purchased by the Sicilian Regional Assembly and enters the important art collection, exhibited on the noble floor of the Royal Palace in Palermo.

 

Urban works and large installations
Pellegrino creates "Macchine sceniche" as he defines the urban installations of the artist, the art critic Aurelio Pes "grandiose works, designed for a much larger space than the theatrical one, rather constituting themselves as a germinating image in the city squares; and, even, in the alleys of misery and dens of decay.”

Domenico Pellegrino's urban installations burst onto the scene, illuminating or coloring a place, a square or a port: Faro del Pellegrino, the missing "lace" of the Florio building in Palermo; the Tulong sculpture in the squares of Palermo; Ape Bianca, the work conceived with Andrea Di Marco and created after his death; Trip of Mediterranean Cosmogony present at Palazzo Forcella de Seta, at the Municipality of Valverde, at Leonforte at Parco Sottarco; Orto degli Ulivi exhibited at the Parco dell'Anima in Noto; Nurse for Procida Capital of Culture, Mediterranean Cosmogony for Bam 2017; Welcome, wood and lights, 5x3m Scala dei Turchi; You are at the center, aluminum, luminaria, luminous digital mural, Gonzaga Campus building (2020); Chance\Change, aluminum and luminaria, Gonzaga Campus (2021).


Museum acquisitions and public collections

Le Citronnier, 8x4 m, wood and luminaire, Christian Dior Collection;

Genius Panormi, resin and marble dust sculptural group, Botanical Garden, Palermo;

I'm the Island, Sicilian Regional Assembly;

Sicily, wood and lights, 200x131 cm, 2016 - Museum of Mediterranean Textures;

A.mori, diptych in wood and lights, 100x70 cm each - Guttuso Museum;

Mediterranean Cosmogony, aluminum and luminaria, hand painted, 3x1 m, Museo Laboratorio Orlando Contemporaneo;

Untitled 2015, 10x12cm, Mixed media, Imago Mundi Collection;

Mediterranean Cosmogony, aluminum and luminaria, hand painted, 3x1 m, Museum of trust and dialogue for the Mediterranean, Lampedusa;

Etna, wood and lights, MACE, Etna Contemporary Art Museum;

Sicily, wood and lights 200x131, Cuore Blu, Palermo Airport;

Sicily, wood and lights 200x131, Cuore Blu, Fondazione Sicilia;

A.mori, Paladini, Pavone, Spiderman\Apollo Maimeri Foundation;

Flamingo sculpture, 6 m, Stephen Levin, Miami;

Santa Rosalia, sculpture, Diocesan Museum, Palermo

Collaborations

Hermes Human Odyssey, works in wood and lights for the shop windows of the Italian boutiques, Hermès Human Odyssey, installation of works in wood and lights on the facades of the boutiques in Milan Rome;
Heroes of light and dark, show- event ofDisneyItaly on the occasion of the world premiere of the film Ultima saga StarWars,Nurse, urban installation in Procida for Voiello.


Participation in international festivals and exhibitions

58th Venice Biennale (2019),

XIV Quadrennial Art Exhibition in Rome (2003) and Naples (2005), Palermo Capital of Culture (2018),

Procida Capital of Culture (2022),

Mediterranean Archipelago Biennial (2017),

Manifesta 12 (2018), Biennale,

Museum of Contemporary Art Sotto Sale (2017).

Residence projects:

Nike Sant'Alfio, (Etna)

Torano Day and Night (Carrara) 

Dynamo Art Factory (Pistoia)




 

Personal exhibitions

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