Ignazio Moncada Italian, 1932-2012

Ignazio Moncada was born in Palermo in 1932. He graduated in political sciences in his hometown, where he cultivates his passion for painting, alongside updating his contemporary artistic researches. He makes his first trip to Paris in 1952, getting familiar with the european avantgarde and moves in the city in 1958. After having participated to some group shows in Palermo, in 1965 he carries out his first solo exhibition at the Galerie Davray of Paris, where he presents non-figurative paintings on glass. In 1966 he moves to Brussels, where he ties new contacts, to then get back to Italy and settling in Rome from 1967 to 1973. During these years, he shows with the New Smith Gallery of Brussels (1969 and 1972) and in Rome at the Galleria di Ferro of Cavallo (in 1968) and in the Galleria dell’Obelisco in 1971, in an exhibition presented by Enrico Crispolti, getting a significant success. During the Sixties, in his painting, based on a coexistence of colours, strongly opposed by white areas, he combines the mysticism of the right angle to the fluidity of circle.

He follows the cultural world of the capital, meanwhile critics and poets like Cesare Vivaldi, Angelo Maria Ripellino, Emilio Villa, Murilo Mendez and Valentino Zeichen become always more interested to his artworks, and will write about it. In the winter of 1973, he will reside in the Liguria region, initiating his first experiments with ceramics in Albissola. The passion for this kind of material will follow him also during the summer, spent in Sicily, where he paints with the engobe tecnique terracottas with the most different uses, with a master potter in Santo Stefano of Camastra, which works according to ancient tradition, using an interred wood-burner. From 1974, Moncada lives and works in Milan, city in which he starts getting closer to with the friendship with Ernesto Rogers. His pictorial researches will find a place in locations like the Galleria dell’Ariete Grafica, Il Salotto in Como, the Galleria Morone of Milan. In the early Seventies, a more peaceful and chromatic atmosphere takes place in the series “Trasparenze”, that will result in experimental stratifications of the “Reperti di archeologie astratte” of 1977-1980, in which the mixture of paint and tissue paper determines an effect of cancellation and of revelation which are simultaneous. In 1978, the character of these representations which have evocative signs, finds its application in the ballet scenes of “Per Viola”, with the music of Bruno Maderna for the Teatro Massimo of Palermo. The “archeologie” are then presented in some solo-shows, among them one in Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara in 1979. In 1979 he participates to the first projects of redefinition of the new Gibellina, in the reconstruction of the city destroyed by the Belice earthquake of 1968, designing at the entrance of the town a wall in multicoloured ceramic with a five meter height, in which the poetry of his painting at that time was expressed in a pictorial matter that is transformed during the baking and then crystalized. A new willingness of expansion of the pictorial format and extension of its visual effect, brings him, at this stage, to elaborate new compositions, in which colour subdued to a blurred and transparent  effect, radiates a pale brightness. In the series “Alesa e i segni del tempo”, the brick-reds, the diluted blacks, the ochra-yellows, are reflections, and at the same time luminous and opaque, which suggest retinal impressions. On the basis of these new compositional ideas, he grows the ambition to achieve projects on a larger scale, with new architectonic spaces. This intuition brings him to consider the possibility of bringing his works on the outside, specifically on the scaffolds of buildings during their restoration stage, with the one that wil be later defined as Pont Art (art of scaffolds). The first occasion in which it was possible to allow this project was in 1982, during the renovation of the arches of Milan, precisely in Piazza Duomo, for which he carries out enourmous plastic sheets that cover the building, a painting of 450 metres squared, with a pictorial structure strictly linked with the series “Alesa segni del tempo”. According to Pierre Restany, Moncada’s Pont Art changes the construction site in a sort of “big screen” of images and visual language, mobilizing the work with an artistic language. Other measures of Pont Art will be carried out again in the center of Milan, in Largo Donegani (Segni del vento, 1984), in Madrid (Palace Abrantes in Calle Major, headquarter of the Italian Institute of Culture, 1987)and in Augsburg (Gollwitzerhaus, 1992). His aspiration to bring painting in big locations, is shown also in other occasions, like the arrangement of large boards in the intercolumniation of the Palace of the Senate during the first edition of” Milano Poesia” in 1984, or in other works conducted with ceramic in private and public buildings and the big intervention of the “Walk of the artists”of Albissola Marina (Gioie e delizie di Galatea, 2007). During the Eighties his painting gets Italian and foreign attentions, with exhibitions at the Mercato del Sale, Studio Marconi, Galleria del Naviglio in Milan, the Italian Institute of culture in Madrid in 1987, in occasion of the work of Pont Art and the Musée des beaux-arts of Chartres, where in 1988 he shows the series “Ballabili”, where he accentuates colour, on the basis of the previous series “Alese”. The bright and tactile forms of yellows, reds, blues, greens, alternate with transparencies and blank spaces that connect, compress, stretch meanwhile new compositional possibilities surface. In his different ways of expressing, painting always reaches an intense rythm, it doesn’t rest on a regular architecture, but instead develops what Moncada calls a “saraband of forms” vaguely circular and winding that “seem to twirl”. It will then follow a phase where forms assume an apparently more organized disposition, on vertical and serial patterns in the “Differenze” and “Correnti”, which brought the attention of Stefano Agosti, for the exhibition in the Galleria del Naviglio in 1991 and of Guido Ballo, for the exhibition in Palazzo Chiaramonte (Lo Steri) in Palermo in the same year. In 1993 the Civica Galleria d’Arte Moderna of Gallarate dedicates to Moncada a retrospective, curated by Elena Pontiggia, one of the most interested art critics of the Moncada in these years, which emphasises the continuity of his work and its constant renewal, observing how this translates in a new “musicality” and in its relationship with open spaces. The language of shapes and colours extends even more in the Ninties to ceramic, technique where Moncada develops endless possibilities of expression, in the glazes, in the softness of engobes, in the scrapings, on the attention to embosses, but especially in its quality of transmitting the procedures that sink in history. Close to the series of the “Differenze” of the “Correnti” and “All’ombra della luce” of 1994 are the ceramic murals made purposely for the headquarter of the Winterthur insurances in Milan ( with an area of 130 x 190 cm of 1990), among the central headquarters of the Banco di Sicilia always in Milan (290 x 380 cm of 1992), just like the frame in glazed ceramic of 1993 among the Medio Credito Lombardo in Milan of 224 x 224 cm, as well as the Pont Art of 1992 achieved in Gollwintzerhaus in Augsburg, Germany. In 1995 Moncada developed a whole environment in ceramic, “la stanza dell’irrequieto” in Villa Trabia in Bagheria and a bronze “tower” for the Medio Credito Lombardo in Rome, with the height of 225 cm. In the same year, he experiments another technique, making tapestries for Krizia. Between 1999 and 2001 he makes six pools in mosaic and the coatings in coloured ceramic for two cafe’s for the Olympic Voyager and the Olympic Explorer. During these years, his style comes familiar with a new expression of colour, and recovering, through patterns and varied signs, mythological roots, identified in the charcaters of the artworks dedicated to Poseidon, Galatea and Polyphemus. The canvas of 2002 bought by IULM University in Milan with the title “La residenza di Poseidone era un gran palazzo in fondo al mare”, is part of this new series, revitalised by an “imaginary breeze” coming from the liberating power of the ancient pagan rites. Around this particular season of Moncada’s painting, Luciano Caramel intervenes to present the exhibitions of 2001 in Spazio Annunciata, and from 2004 among the Art Center of Arbur, in Milan. In 2007, on the Albissola’s waterfront, that hosts many artists that have worked from the 1940’s, Moncada adds another of his environmental works, a ceramic chair, long forty-two metres that determines a semi-circle in a square. This work was named “Gioie e Delizie di Galatea”in continuity with the themes of his painting at this stage. In 2011 Milan’s Triennale hosts many of his ceramic productions. In 2012 he decorates the ceiling of the Library of Palazzo Branciforte in Palermo, with a fresco of 20 x 8 metres. He dies in Milan the 7th of October 2012. In 2013 the Ignazio Moncada archive was founded.