In Milan, BUILDING dedicates an exhibition to the visual deceptions of Aldo Mondino

From April 5 to June 17, 2023 BUILDING in Milan traces the milestones of Aldo Mondino's art, focusing in particular on his visual deceptions. On display are about forty works including paintings, drawings, sculptures and installations.

In Milan, BUILDING presents from April 5 to June 17, 2023 the exhibition Aldo Mondino. Rules for Deception, curated by Alberto Fiz and with the collaboration of theAldo MondinoArchive. Dedicated to Aldo Mondino (Turin, Italy, 1938 - 2005), one of the most significant protagonists of the postwar international art scene, the exhibition brings together about forty works including paintings, drawings, sculptures and installations made between 1963 and 2003, with the intention of retracing the fundamental stages of his art, focusing on the originality of an ironic and transgressive research that has constantly questioned the aesthetic dogmas that have followed since the 1960s.

While participating actively in the climate of Arte Povera, Mondino foreshadowed, well in advance, the crisis of ideologies. “His passion for art in its infinite declinations led him to an investigation of conscious opposition to a homogenized system, triggering a process of undue appropriation that allowed him to develop a controversial and highly topical dialogue with contemporaneity,” says Alberto Fiz.

His research has influenced the language of art, becoming a point of reference for the new generation of artists, as evidenced, for example, by the work of Maurizio Cattelan, who in an imaginary (but not too much) interview with Mondino has him say, “I used to be convinced that today’s society was on the brink of the abyss and that I should be the last of its witnesses.”

The exhibition unfolds along three of BUILDING’s exhibition floors, starting on the ground floor, where the long-distance dialogue with art is evident beginning with the work Nougat Tower (1968), in which architectural artifice gives life to a construction of nougat boxes. The experience of the 1960s is retraced thanks to a number of conceptual works, such as the series of Palloncini (1965-1972), in which we encounter the suspension of the painting that rises upward, creating an optical illusion motivated by the movement of the balloon that carries the painting with it (the Palloncini do not even include the one entitled Analogy with Paolini from 1967), and the series of Quadri a quadretti (1963-1964) in which every form of rule is overturned using the image as an instrument of provocation. Then there are the Falls and Scales where Mondino transforms painting into a physical experience by using pigment as if it were a primary material, developing a path parallel to that of Arte Povera, which in the same years was questioning concepts such as weight, tension and balance. Together with Mon Dine, a large portrait in which he crosses his own image with that of the American artist Jim Dine, and a rare series of drawings, the ground floor is completed with the marshmallow pool, a flavored mosaic composed of fluffy sugar cylinders that invites one to dive into the unreachable worldly “waters,” since the place of well-being is not only ephemeral, even a bit nauseating, but also lacks a way in since the pool ladder is positioned too high.

On the second floor, the exhibition focuses on probably the most popular aspects of Mondino’s art, namely those related to theOrient, the result of extensive research that began in the early 1980s. Among others presented are the work The Byzantine World (1999), made with 12 thousand chocolates, and some significant works from the series Stretched Carpets (1990-1992) in eraclite, an industrial material used in construction, where overlapping antique carpets become the occasion for renewed experimentation. Finally, looking up, one glimpses Jugen stilo (1993), the chandelier made from bic pens, while on the ground is placed Gathered in Prayer (1986), an ephemeral carpet of grains with an ambiguous title that with the term “harvest” identifies the spiritual recollection of the faithful but also the benefits of the farmer.

The exhibition also features a selection of works on Jewish subjects, in which religion is addressed with the usual irony filtered through specific attention to traditions and rituals. Two emblematic paintings, 18 KISLEV 5751 (1990) and Putting a Stone on It (1999), are presented here. Then is reconstructed Wailing Wall, a massive installation of white sugar and cane sugar with the insertion of real bushes, stretching six meters evoking the holiest Jewish site.

The investigation ofmaterials, the basis of the visual deceptions that have characterized Mondino’s production, accompanies the sometimes neglected plastic research. An example of this is the work Sculpture a Horn characterized by a series of elephants stacked on top of each other and covered with chocolate, among Mondino’s most prized materials, which by this process changes the status of his works from monumental to symbolically edible.

Dwelling on the artist’s focus on a continuous dialogue with art history, the second floor of the exhibition is instead entirely devoted to homages: a cross-cultural journey through genres, styles and myths.

It is a meta-artistic operation that Mondino performs with a 2003 mosaic emblematically titled Calpestar le uova (Trampling Egg s) that ironically cites Maternity with Eggs, one of the most characteristic subjects of Felice Casorati’s painting that is also found in a historic 1964 composition titled Pittura coprente (Covering Painting). The series of homages passes through the historical avant-gardes with Boccioni’s La mamma, a bronze work that grew out of a mint candy version to which the artist added two bowling balls in place of breasts. Then Marcel Duchamp’s Ortisei appears, which explicitly quotes Tonsure, Man Ray’s 1919 portrait of him with a five-pointed star in his hair. And again,Bicycle Wheel transformed in 1980 by Mondino into Cycle and Recycle with a bicycle wheel to which Venetian shoes are applied. To his fraternal friend Alighiero Boetti, with whom he shared many passions, and in particular travels to the East, Mondino dedicates a cycle of paintings Ali-Ali-Alighiero, Essaouira: the triptych, almost three meters long, on display in the exhibition is among the most important of the series: the sky of the Moroccan city much loved by the two artists, and the flight of seagulls recall, in addition to the skies, Boetti’s famous airplanes. The exhibition is rounded out with Mondino’s picture gallery and the display of rare portraits of the same format that refer to art, music and literature in a roundup that includes some famous protagonists of art and culture, from André Masson to Gertrude Stein, from Otto Dix to Arnold Schönberg.

For info:

Hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Image: Exhibition set-up Aldo Mondino. Rules for Deception. Courtesy of BUILDING.

In Milan, BUILDING dedicates an exhibition to the visual deceptions of Aldo Mondino
In Milan, BUILDING dedicates an exhibition to the visual deceptions of Aldo Mondino

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