Considerations on the figure of the Archetype

In search of an ideal and typologically original model which in a broad sense could condense the different figurative expressions of life in a single morphological structure, I began studying the archetype almost at the same time when I decided to leave scientific design and head for the immense world of painting.

Inevitably under the influence of my studies on embryology, which were my favourite during university years, I chose a particular time in the embryonic development, known as gastrula, during which – through a series of very complex morphogenetic movements – some areas known as presumptive territories, where the constituent elements of the composite architecture of life originate, are detected.

Without going further into these mechanisms, as much complicated as mysterious, I started to develop a form which, away from the figurative representation described above, could provide an abstract synthesis of this complex embryonic stage. I chose as a model the predecessor of all vertebrates – an echinoderm called sand dollar – which for the purity of its form and position in the evolutionary scale could well summarize one of the fundamental rules of embryology, under which “ontogenesis – i.e. the processes through which each individual achieves his/her organic development – encapsulates phylogenesis – i.e. the evolutionary history of each single being which encompasses traces of pre-existing beings.”

With the passing of time I have carried out a complex series of morphological metamorphoses, the more complex the more I deviated from the original matrix, though never betraying some biological rules which fix the structure of life to precise dictates regarding symmetry and space organization. Thus the primitive source of inspiration – the now abandoned sand dollar – is no longer recognizable, so much has it been transformed by numerous stylistic transitions, which make it more similar to one of Arp’s surrealist constructions than to a form reminiscent of life.

However the notion of life as something continuously changing, which these archetypes evoke, is always present, as it is present and, I believe and hope, properly perceived, the inherent narrative structure of my works, for which I have used abstract stylistic features of different avant-garde movements. Life and genetic information in a dialectical relationship. The one evocative of the other. Life, represented by the archetype and genetic information, first represented by the egg and today symbolized by the DNA spiral. I have always wanted to paint the miracle of life and the secret universe of its transmission, and I have done this including even the most futurist hypotheses of genetic manipulation and of man creating new living forms, though with that humanist detachment which allows to refrain from giving answers, expressing judgements or stating truths, merely to observe and describe the phenomenological realities around. Slides and microscopes have been replaced by colours and geometry, like the words of a new, more spontaneous language, between real and imaginary, which can make that mysterious and arcane world up to now accessible only to few technocrats, intelligible to everybody, because, whether we wish it or not, we are involved.



Bruto Pomodoro

February 2005