18 March > 27 May 2023
Aldo Mondino "Souk mondano" a Padova
Opening 18/03/2023 h 12:00 > 19:00
18/03 > 29/04/2023*
Vicolo dell’Osservatorio 1/C
35122 - Padova (PD)
Thursday - Saturday, 12.00 - 19.00
More info: firstname.lastname@example.org
NP-ArtLab in collaboration with Galleria Umberto Benappi (Turin) and Archivio Aldo Mondino, is pleased to present "Souk mondano" dedicated to the work of Aldo Mondino, with a focus on works influenced by his travels to the Middle East. An eclectic artist whose artistic practice has crossed different styles and influences, including 20th century European art, surrealism and pop art, without ever belonging to any group or movement.
Mondino has always refused to be framed in art-historical categories, preferring an approach full of experimentations in terms of materials, techniques and subjects. An endless research, a stubborn need to experiment, giving rise to an heterogeneous work in perpetual dialogue with the history of art.
The works on display refer to the impact that the artist's travels, in a metaphorical as well as a physical sense, have had on the development of his work. Mondino accompanied this flânerie with his curiosity and irony, translating into Mondinoan terms what he had seen during his wanderings. From the 1980s onwards, his travels intensified, confronting him with what he calls "an Orient that begins in Morocco and continues in Palestine, where I glimpse a fascinating parallelism between the prayer and the intensity of attention in conceptual painting."
His famous works of the "Dervishes", dancing subjects painted on linoleum, come from this analogy between spirituality and pictorial gesture. The Dervishes practice the ritual dance characteristic of Turkish tradition by performing fluid, circular movements. Indeed, the Dervishes series was exhibited in 1993 at the Venice Biennale curated by Achille Bonito Oliva: on that occasion Mondino presented a performance involving a group of rotating dancers from Turkey. The corpus of works the dervishes, also called le turcate, in homage to Giulio Turcato, highlight the harmonious blend of Western-style figurative painting and the decorative geometric syntax of Middle Eastern and Asian derivation.
To prove the influences from his encounters while traveling, Mondino depicts local merchants and souks, the true essence of the city, a market revealing the soul of a country: he captures the physiognomies of the subjects and the colours of the fruit together with geometric patterns. The choice of linoleum as a support in painting is quite unusual but confirms Mondino's relentless aptitude for experimentation. The use of this support synthesizes various aspects of Mondino's poetics, from the use of a highly worked surface reminiscent of Orientalism to the constant irony (the play on words that sees linen and oil as materials more commonly associated with the Western painting tradition).
A reappraisal of the material also applies to “Iznik”, the enamel-on-glass technique that is reminiscent of the terracotta artefacts of the Turkish city of Nicea: in this series of works, painting becomes ceramic, misleading the eye in this metamorphosis of painting that becomes something else.
The same trompe l'oeil of the “Tappeti stesi” hung on the walls like cloths hang to dry, transforming the exhibition space into a characteristic souk. This series of works were executed in bright colours on an industrial building material, eraclite. The texture of the media, although rough, reminds of a noble oriental carpet thanks to Mondino's elaboration of the painting-objects. The resulting illusion verges on perfection and with these works, the artist offers us a narrative composed of vivid colours and decorative motifs of a fascinating unknown universe.
Mondino's approach to the elsewhere cannot be traced solely to a fascination with exoticism but implies a veiled allusion to experiencing cultural otherness in opposition to mass tourism and Western global acceleration.
The exhibition ‘Souk mondano' will be accompanied by the publication of a catalogue.
A selection of the works part of the exhibition will also be presented by Galleria Umberto Benappi on the occasion of the 27th edition of Miart 2023 (Milan, 14-16 April) within the established section.
Aldo Mondino was born in 1938 in Turin, where he died in 2005.
In 1959 he moved to Paris where he attended the studio of William Heyter, the ‘Ecole du Louvre’, and the mosaic course at the Academy of Fine Arts with Severini and Licata.
In 1960 he returned to Italy, where he began to exhibit his work at the Galleria L'Immagine in Turin (1961) and the Galleria Alfa in Venice (1962). His meeting with Gian Enzo Sperone, director of the Galleria Il Punto, represented a turning-point in his artistic career and marked the beginning of a long collaboration that still continues today. He held a series of important solo exhibitions at the Galleria Stein in Turin, the Studio Marconi in Milan, the Galleria La Salita in Rome and the Galleria Paludetto in Turin.
Mondino’s major exhibitions include two participations in the Venice Biennale in 1976 and 1993 and solo exhibitions at the Museum für Moderne Kunst - Palais Liechtenstein in Vienna (1991), the Sultanahmet Topkapi Museum in Istanbul (1992, 1996), the Jewish Museum of Bologna (1995) and the Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna in Trento (2000).
His works are part of the permanent collections of leading Italian and international museums and many private collections.