artist / participant
11 years after Aldo Mondino’s death (Turin, 1938–2005), Villa Croce Museum, in collaboration with the Aldo Mondino Archive and Palazzo della Meridiana, presents Aldo Mondino. Modern, Post-Modern, Contemporary. This comprehensive exhibition, curated by Ilaria Bonacossa, develops in two Genovese museums presenting more then 40 years of sculptures, painting and installations which are so diverse, that they seemed produced by many different artists. This vast retrospective highlights the importance of this Italian artist in the development of the Italian contemporary art scene.
One of the most eclectic artist of his generation, Aldo Mondino, is the most significant representative of Italian postmodernism. His work develops through the re-appropriation of the stylistic and formal qualities of the historical avant-guards, at the same time quoting and playing with works produced by contemporary artists. His production references Surrealism and Dada, looks at Pop and Conceptual practices, whilst quoting famous works of art by masters such as Casorati, Degas, Picasso, Giacometti, Matisse or Capogrossi. Mondino’s art is totally contradictive, mixing technics materials and genres he changes the way we look at things and their functions. Starting in the ‘80s he creates sculptures made of chocolate, paintings on sheets of linoleum, mosaics of marshmallows, carpets of coffee and seeds, chandeliers of cheap pens together with sculptures in bronze, ceramic, wood and glass. Everything can be for Aldo Mondino a source of inspiration: from children’s books to art history, from Palio di Siena to religious traditions. It is stunning how his work succeeds in being light and playful, passionate and emotional, introspective and dramatic but always ironic. Friends with the Italian advertising guru, Armando Testa, who often tried to convince him to work with him, Mondino elaborates a personal relationship between words and images, transforming the titles of his works of art, and their word-puns, into signifiers that completely overturn the work’s interpretation. The second part of his life is marked by an unquenched desire to lose self-consciousness. This form of escapism from the country’s economic boom and class clashes manifests itself, similarly to his friend Alighiero Boetti, in the search for mysticism, in a life of excesses marked by women and alcohol, in the search for mysticism, but foremost in the need of constantly travelling to exotic places like Turkey, Morocco or India in the search for inspiration.
The Museum Villa Croce presents his first production and a series of environmental installations. Focusing on his Pop production presented at the Venice Biennial in 1964 and on the numerous works created with sweets and chocolate as a personal response to Arte Povera that was developing in Turin. Palazzo della Meridiana instead unites series of important paintings that recount his passionate journeys in the Mediterranean basin, significant works like the Whirling Dervishes that brought him fame and a solo show at the Venice Biennial in 1993. The show leads the viewer in a surprising walk through six different Genoese museums where six site-specific installations transform our perception of the city and its history. Aldo Mondino. Modern, Postmodern, Contemporary, thus becomes a sort of treasure-hunt that, from the neoclassical rooms of Villa Croce, pushes us to discover the medieval home of Christopher Columbus, surprises us with the monumental grandeur of Palazzo Ducale, leads us inside the ball rooms of the famous Palazzi di Strada Nuova; after having guided us on the terraces of the Royal Palace overlooking the sea, it plunges us underwater in Renzo Piano’s Aquarium, finally leading us to the Art Nouveau glass-dome of Palazzo della Meridiana.