Ten years after his passing, Aldo Mondino (Turin, 1938-2005) is reappearing as one of the most interesting and creative artists of his generation. Atypical and anticonformist for his time, Mondino anticipated themes of a global and transversal art. In the early 1960s, after a time spent in Paris, he develops a personal take on the surrealist inspiration through wordplay, nonsense and paronomasia. In the meantime he ‘studies’ Pop Art, but only taking the more conceptual and cold aspect, and eventually coming into contact with Arte Povera, participating in the historical 1967 exhibition in Turin: Con/templ’/azione.
Though Mondino was still at the beginning of his artistic journey, this is the period in which he demonstrates maturity, principally with his Quadrettature.
The two pillars of theory upon which these works rest are the following: the reprise of banal and simple imagery which is easy to repeat, returning to a childish, candid, and naive way of ‘making art’; and the use of the squared sheets, which reprises the schoolboy’s attempt at putting order, albeit often in a less than successful and sometimes clumsy manner, to his drawings. According to Mondino, the Quadrettature marked his choice to abandon Surrealism and to take inspiration from existing subjects, to reconcile with this pictorial childhood and externalise it as an adult.
The Tappeti, the carpets from the 1990s, are difficult to define simply as paintings. The Tappeti are paintings-objects, presenting lively colours and made on Eraclit, an industrial construction material, composed and overlaid as wall pieces. His vision of the Orient is not nostalgic, but rather leisurely and fascinated; this allows him to fill the gap, though less extreme in the case of such an open-minded individual, which the western man, convinced of his cultural supremacy, imposes on himself. This is also a period in which Mondino proposes an interesting religious syncretism, given, more so than from an actual spiritual illumination, by his extraordinary intellectual curiosity.