The sticks of Mondovì
Opening: Wednesday November 6, 2019 at 6:30 pm
On view: On view November 7, 2019 – January 31, 2020
“Egidio Cuniberti. The sticks of Mondovì” is a solo exhibition that offers an exceptional selection of paintings by this Piemontese artist, known mainly for his imaginative furniture. About twenty paintings, like bas-reliefs, where the compact lines due to the juxtaposition of the tesserae, colored by immersion in aniline, fade for the transparencies of color in figurations: landscapes as dreamed memories, rural scenes and galloping horses towards the mountain. There are also men working in the fields or Garibaldini, portrayed in some historical battle. But the dominant theme is Mondovì and its surrounding nature.
The artistic adventure of Egidio Cuniberti begins late, when he is already 43 years old and he is a lonely man: the sick parents he had cared for half of his life are gone. He himself is sick. When he was 24 years old working as a foundry worker in Turin, he suffered an urgent operation on his head due to cerebral hemorrhage, probably following a fall on a bicycle. Since then his life is no longer the same. The consequences prevent him from working: headaches, epilepsy, insomnia will accompany him until the end of his days. And then he walks around the town, especially at night, beginning to collect waste material, mainly fruit crates, and his favorite sticks, ice cream sticks but also colored plastic spoons. He assembles them, putting one on top of the other on the section-side, one next to the other, obsessively, creating very original irregular furnitures, often with the narrower base than the top that seems to live in a precarious balance. A sort of sideboards, little trunks, secretaire with little drawers, secret niches, double bottoms. And perhaps to have some company, he populates his small apartment with almost life-size silhouettes of young women with large bouquets of flowers. And of paintings that are like windows in the surrounding landscape, his beloved Mondovì.
“Mondovì provides him with images of his ideal country; the arches of the railway bridge, the funicular, the bell tower that dominates the town, the houses and historic buildings on the square recur in ever-changing layouts that pass from a more strictly figurative register to an almost completely abstract one” writes art historian Bianca Tosatti in the monograph “Cuniberti” defining a “marvelous complication” the artist’s work who continually breaks up and recomposes reality, “who is taken by one’s own game, who abandons himself to the pleasure of distortion: not the simple, but the complicated, the uselessly, absurdly, wonderfully complicated”.