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Archaic Matter as Art: Gastone Primon

A sincere attachment to a primordial earth and its prime materials is what pervades the variegated oeuvre of a not-so-much-know Italian artist Gastone Primon.

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A sincere attachment to a primordial earth and its prime materials is what pervades the variegated oeuvre of a not-so-much-know Italian artist Gastone Primon.

 

Grande Sfera (Large Sphere), 2006, glazed clay, diameter 60cm, courtesy of the artist.

Grande Sfera (Large Sphere), 2006, glazed clay, diameter 60cm, courtesy of the artist.

 

Gastone Primon (Este, Italy) began his career as a ceramist, and today he lives and works in the south of Rome. He has recently exhibited in the Museo Civico Umberto Mastroianni in Marino (Terrestrismo, 2015) and Museo della Civiltà Romana in Rome (Raccontare l’antico: terra, acqua e fuoco, featuring works by the Italian artist Michele Paternuosto, 2016).

 

Throughout the years he has being shaping himself as a polyhedral artist, both painter and sculptor. During the first years of the 1960s, Primon attended important exhibitions and art fairs around the world (Italy, Spain, Germany, Australia).His work is informed by craftsmanship and manual work, for Primon is concerned with transformation (both physical and metaphorical) and human creation.

 

Wounded Vase, 2007, glazed clays, 44 cm h, courtesy of the artist.

Wounded Vase, 2007, glazed clays, 44 cm h, courtesy of the artist.

 

Primon’s oeuvre crosses through a variety of media. From bronze to clay, from ceramic to sand, his works explore uncommon techniques and various materials. Baking, oxidizing, glazing, melting and burning allow painting to become sculpture and sculpture to become painting.

Accordingly, Primon’s paintings have a deep materic quality, for poor materials replace the paint tubes.

 

A recurrent feature in Primon’s work is the personal dialogue with natural objects and phenomena. Often Primon relies on elements and objects found in nature, especially when consumed by a story or altered by time. That renders such objects lived and alive: worth of being included into a work of art.The natural and the archaic are recurrent themes in Primon, who often includes archeological findings and fossil records, along with products and waste of modern industrial society. Primon’s art is a loud recall to those cultures living in an archaic yet dynamic harmony with nature. During his 4 year sojourn in Jordan he was able to taste those Mediterranean cultures as if found before the conquest of the Western ratio. The warm and sandy colors of the adjacent Syria as well as its ancient yet alive culture deeply inspired his art.

 

Nucleo Plastico (Plastic Nucleus), 2003, various media, 70X100 cm, courtesy of the artist.

Nucleo Plastico (Plastic Nucleus), 2003, various media, 70X100 cm, courtesy of the artist.

 

Primon’s spherical creations (from 1970s until today) are but a manifestation of life. They are fossils, relicts of an ancient pre-human world, asteroids bringer life, images of unknown yet alive planets.

 

In this respect, one may describe his art as a sterile rehashing of Arte Povera, confining his practice among those of Mertz, Pistoletto, Burri, and Penone. But Primon’s contributes to art should not be underestimated. A personal optimism and a thoughtful confidence in the matter – as eternal genetrix of life – are an unicum in art. Birth, life, death, and a feeling of regeneration replace the decadent content of Arte Povera.

 

Primon understands his works as the ultimate heroic act: that of human creation. Through the act of transforming, new beings come to light, and this makes us consider man as a sapient result of the multiple and mutual transformations of matter.

 


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After earning a BA in Art History (with concentration on modern and contemporary art) she realized her deep interest in museum studies while attending the MA in Visual Arts and Curatorial studies in Milan. Her research is focused on the cultural dynamics of museums and public collections and on their capacity of creating critical spirit within different audiences.

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