Ilaria Del Monte. The company of dreams

site: Other Size Gallery (Milan).
treatment: Claudius Composti.

Dream, magic, metaphysical and surrealist painting in its most feminine declination: these are the ingredients of Ilaria Del Monte’s painting, protagonist of the solo exhibition “The company of dreams” at the Other Size Gallery in Milan.

In the eleven paintings on display – of medium and large format and whose production goes from 2017 to today – we find the evolution of the artistic research of Ilaria Del Monte who manages to tell, thanks to a skilful use of light and color, the ordinary and the fantastic, united in disorienting domestic environments, often shared with wild, animal and vegetable presences.

The artist inherits from the female tradition of Surrealism the vision of a reality in which the everyday and the supernatural merge seamlessly. The Surrealists’ main interest was the world of dreams, the unconscious and the irrational, and for many women artists of the movement, magic represented a form of ancestral knowledge that led to processes of personal emancipation.

“In “The Milk of Dreams” – recalls Claudio Composti in his text – Leonora Carrington mixed comical and creepy stories, she drew fantastic, hybrid or monstrous animals and characters, magical beings, with amusing but also ghostly features. Each story, by association, generated others, in an infinite chain. The beautiful work of Ilaria Del Monte derives from this trend”. Hers are dreamlike narrations that reveal symbols of other worlds, play on the unexpected and the unpredictable, and are able to project the public into a lucid dream, poised between the credible and the incredible.

From a strictly formal point of view, his painting is also the daughter of the other Magic Realism, that of Italian and German artists between the two wars, from which Del Monte borrows the atmosphere of suspension in which he immerses the protagonists of his stories . At the center of the visions stands the female image, locked up in the rooms of a domestic prison, a monastic place, a space of plant grafts and beastly incursions, which blur the boundary between the genres of the landscape and the bourgeois interior.

“The atmosphere that I wanted to express in my works is poised between reality and dream – says the artist -, very close to a medieval bestiary “tamed” and softened within the home, where the protagonists are surrounded by animals, such as in “Mediterranea”, or where a deer receives a bath while looking out of a window that looks like a painting hanging on a wall as in “Before the party”. The protagonists, girls or boys, are thoughtful creatures who hide in their apparently fairy-tale world the betrayed dream of humanity in this century and a sense of anguish and precariousness”.

Born in Puglia, Ilaria Del Monte attended the art school of Matera and graduated in painting at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts. In 2020 the French television Med in Arte dedicated a documentary set in Milan to her. Ilaria Del Monte’s drawings and paintings are narrations told with a skilful hand and a conceptual, mature and transversal intelligence. The pencil marks on paper like Del Monte’s oil brushstrokes represent worlds built with an apparent classicism borrowed from the twentieth-century pictorial tradition, but which ineluctably reveal themselves, under the guise of a manner traced by the hand, organisms of cerebral conjectures that take place as an attempt to undermine the consolidated balances, to open a mental window aimed at fantasy and hope. His poetics have a situationist matrix with a Nietzschean derivation in the sense given by the German philosopher to art which for him assumes the value of man’s liberation from the oppression of rationality, allowing the individual to express his creativity – and therefore his irrationality – in a world that tends to destroy it.

Monday 23 January, 18.30

Featured image
Ilaria Del Monte, Via Meucci 47, oil on canvas, 35×40 cm, 2022jpg

Ilaria Del Monte. The company of dreams –