The present work is sold with a photo-certificate from the artist.
The dematerialisation of the art object formed a central theme in much of the conceptual art of the late 1960s. For Gino De Dominicis, who began his career at this time, it was the concept of dematerialisation per se that most concerned him. For De Dominicis, dematerialisation and its logical conclusion, invisibility, were integral parts of his artistic aesthetic as, he believed, they held the key to a hidden world of timeless beauty and of immortality. Rejecting conventional linear interpretations of time, De Dominicis maintained that true reality existed as an "eternal present". Responding to the Metaphysical tradition in Italian art, he understood the world of objective reality to be merely an artifice. Objects such as "a glass, a man, a hen... are not really a glass, a man, a hen," he once explained, " but only verifications of the possibility of existence... To truly exist, things would have to exist eternally, immortally. Only then would they be not only verifications of certain possibilities, but truly things."
De Dominicis' artistic search for true reality consequently also became a search for immortality, and in the early 1970s De Dominicis interwove into his aesthetic the twin figures of Gilgamesh and Urvasi. Gilgamesh was the ancient Mesopotamian king of legend who unsuccessfully sought immortality from the gods and Urvasi is in Hindu mythology an apsara or heavenly nymph of immortal beauty, who, according to some legends, is also a bestower of immortality. In De Dominicis' art the two figures can be seen to stand as a metaphorical guide to the links between beauty and immortality and man's desire to perfect himself.
Concerning itself with the mystical timeless essence of things, much of De Dominicis' art appears otherworldly. Developing from his early use of invisibility, his work of the 1980s and 1990s often incorporates the use of silhouetted forms that appear as if they were footprints or shadows of the gods; spectral traces of entities that have passed through our spatial and temporal sphere of understanding, leaving only these vague clues to their existence and identity. In Untitled, a flat hieroglyphic-like silhouette of a female figure levitates over a platform on a vast ephemeral field of gold leaf. Part geometry, part symbol her painted form seems both ancient and futuristic. Yet, at the same time, this flat empty form seem less to have been painted than, through some strange alchemy, to have mysteriously appeared like an X-Ray or the writing on Belshazzar's wall against the shimmering surface of the empty wall of gold.