PRIMITIVE MORNINGS by Filippo Sciascia

Presented by the Embassy of Italy and the Italian Cultural Institute Jakarta on the occasion of the 15th Italian Contemporary Art Day.

Hosted by RUBANAH Underground Hub in collaboration with Yeo Workshop and A.M.A.C.I (Associazione dei Musei d’Arte Contemporanea Italiani)

Art and science have long coexisted, and are both essential in the way we understand and examine our world around us. In contemporary times both forces have converged, where creativity is crucial in understanding our scientific legacy using an artistic lens. Filippo Sciascia’s works are an enquiry into the relationship between art and science.

Primitive Mornings tells a story about everything we know and the mysteries of the universe that we do not know about, through the use of light as an artistic device. Both artists and scientists have attempted to understand and express the concept of life through various ideas and methods. Sciascia does so by studying the influence of light on the evolution of history, mankind, and societies. Mankind always had a primordial need for a light source, and the discovery of fire changed the course of humankind to be no longer afraid of the dark and the need to seek shelter in caves. Having control of a light source meant they were still able to see and create even when the sun was no longer up. Our contemporary light source however comes from another breakthrough in human evolution, electricity. The discovery of fire and electricity meant the independent man, liberated from being dependent entirely on nature (the sun) as the sole source of energy.

Sciascia takes on a highly conceptual approach to his paintings as the centre of his practice, where his works often borders between a painting, a sculpture, and an installation as it includes various mixed media interventions into his works. Beyond being a conceptual artist, Sciascia grounds his ideas with scientific data and research; bridging the gap between art and science which have long been interpreted as two separate methods of enquiry.

The artist begins with the role of light in nature through studying the process of photosynthesis in making food and energy for plants. He interprets the concept of light by using oil paint and natural pigments derived from plants, to symbolically add chlorophyll extract into his paints that he uses on his works. He also adds crushed melatonin pills to allude to the circadian cycle, and how daylight regulates the natural cycles such as eating and sleeping of living things including mankind.

Sciascia also incorporates electrical lights in his paintings to explore the concept of electricity as a new, manmade source of light. He shines the light underneath the canvas to create a luminescent effect of different shapes such as a phylogenetic tree diagram used to study evolution and genetics. He also introduces the use of aluminium which is derived from bauxite, one of the oldest natural materials used by mankind for centuries to create tools and objects. The use of the metal is juxtaposed against organic materials like plants mentioned above, and comments on technological advancements and mankind’s continued evolution.

These conceptual interventions onto the canvas surface using chlorophyll, melatonin, electricity, and aluminium serves to amplify the conceptual dimensions of his works and breaks away from the theoretical styles of traditional representational painting.


Art talk and video screening
Saturday, November 30th 2019
3 PM
At Istituto Italiano di Cultura Jakarta
Jl. HOS. Cokroaminoto No.117, Menteng, Jakarta Pusat
Exhibition opening
Saturday, November 30th 2019
7 PM

Download the postcard here