By Jennifer D. Webb

Aldo Mondino, a contemporary artist who worked in a variety of mediums and who drew inspiration from his travels around the world died in Turin on March 10, 2005. In his short autobiography, Mondino notes the important role played by Tancredi in his artistic “formation.”

In 1959 Mondino was in Paris studying at Atelier 17 and the Ecole Du Louvre; he also completed a mosaic course with Gino Severini. Thanks to Tancredi, Mondino’s works were first exhibited in 1960 at the Galerie Bellechasse and were included in a second show that the artists used to “speak out” against the “repressive climate of the French government.” (Mondino in Coen, 103). His return to Italy in 1961 to complete his military service led to his first solo-exhibition in Turin.

By the 1960s the artist’s was working on serial projects including an exploration of squares in 1964. His King series followed in 1970 and, after a trip to Morocco and parts of the Middle East, he created 36 oil on linoleum paintings portraying Sultans that lived between 1200-1920.

At the 1993 Biennale de Venezia (he also showed at the 1976 Biennale), Mondino created a series of dancing dervishes, also inspired by his 1970 trip, that he exhibited alongside sugar sculptures, carpets, and a chandelier made of iron and ball-point pens which he entitled “Jugen stilo” to play on the German term used to reference the art nouveau.

Mondino considered projects such as the 1993 Biennale as installations that interact with the space. Of this “completeness” of vision, Vittoria Coen notes that “Mondino’s world become magical, a world of signs and dreams, nightmares and ghosts of the past, half forgotten phrases, images, illustrations and sensations, a world in which the sacred and the profane, the East and the West unexpectedly melt into each other.” (Coen, 21)

The “magical” nature of Mondino’s results in part from the broad range of materials used and which include traditional painting and engraving as well as the building supplies, sugar, chocolate, coffee, and even rotting fish as in Gravere (1969) that was later rendered in bronze. Il sole (1966-67) considered light as an artistic medium. Mondino also presented a single subject, like the Mother and Child in Casorati, in a variety of ways: as prints, on tshirts, printed on coconut-matting or on cut plastic ribbons, and in sugar on silver paper.

References: Vittoria Coen, Ed. Aldo Mondino dall’Acrilico allo Zucchero. Torino: hopefulmonster, 2000; Claudio Spandoni, Ed. Mondino Aldologica. Milan: Mazzotta, 2003; “Aldo Mondino” website.

Fabio Rossi, Rossi Rossi, in partnernship with Giovanni Martino presents Aldo Mondino. (published May 8, 2018)

Qui c’est moi.  (1999) Chocolate mosaic. (Teoporta, Wikimedia Commons)

“Surprise”, GAM – Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (Feb 10-April 6, 2015)

Further reading: Mondino. Aldo Mondino: il viaggio. Milan: Mazzotta, 2002; Barbero, Luca Massimo. Tancredi: A Retrospective. Venice: Marsilio Editore, 2017.

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