In the 90’s Paola Mongelli graduates in scenic design at the Albertina School of fine arts of Turin, where she attended to Giorgio Avigdor’ s photography class. Thanks to his teachings and later to those of the photographer Enzo Obiso, she starts a research through the black and white picture and she experiences, in her own way, the fine-art printing techniques.
Her first exposition, taking place in 1998, is organized by the Italian Foundation for the photography of Turin and she exhibited the “Teli , come vele” series. What comes immediately to light about this work is the particular attention to the light as a plastic element and the materic quality of the printings, made in limited edition or even in a unique copy , as result of a careful work in camera oscura.
Paola establishes a dialogue made of empathy and contemplation with the subjects of her works. The outcome is a deep reflection on the human condition, which evokes the correlation among man, nature and its elements; a dimension in which the exploration of the self and the observation of the world end to overlie.
Starting from a research on the emptiness and the absence , her works throughout the years extend to different subjects –interiors, nature, portrait, travel- connected by a unique theme: the dialectic between light and darkness , called to give back with images the intensity of the visual and emotional experience.
The travel pictures are born from the personal need of comparing herself with different cultures, other from her own belonging: India, country she has always admired, and the black Africa, where she went thanks to her interest and practicing of the traditional dances of Benin since 1999.
The fascination with writing, especially poetry, leads her to find in the written word an additional source of inspiration and sometimes even a decisive key for the conception of her images. As a matter of fact many are the relationships and close partnerships with poets and writers, such as Dario Capello, author of the essay “Della visione inquieta” (2009), and the Genoese writer Marco Ercolani, with his inspirational research on the theme of darkness.
The Paola Mongelli’ s interest for the face and the human figure increases more and more from the first years of 2000, with her first portraits shot and offered to friends and family.
The exploration of this genre will become an almost exclusive cornerstone of her work in the years to come, giving birth to the series of portraits dedicated to her father. Some of those will be selected in 2008 by Knorr for the advertising campaign. In the same period she starts also the collaboration with the Anna Contestabile photography agency and with other advertising companies.
Paola Mongelli is also committed to didactic activities: she organizes numerous seminars and academic classes about photography and education of vision (European Institute of Design, Intercultural centre, Collegio univeristario Einaudi of Turin). From 2010, with the artistic formative project “ Necessità del volto”, created together with the artist Petra Probst, she conducts research and teaching activity.
In 2012 Paola acquires her first digital device and she begins to explore the world of movement and color. Simultaneously, as the result of a balance effect, she makes a parallel activity through the drawing and the art performance, which focus on the themes connected to the face, the gaze and the sphere of sensations and movements.
Her works are included in many private collections and foundations.
Kandinskyana, curated by Galerie Negpos, Bibliothèque Universitaire Vauban, Nîmes
Birth, Mongelli/Bersezio UNICA Project, CSAfarm Gallery, Turin
Evocazione.Il viaggio intatto, Sinapsi Festival, Luserna San Giovanni-Turin
Quale terra, curated by Maria Teresa Roberto, Galleria Paolo Tonin, Turin
Paola Mongelli.Il bianco e il nero, Galleria Civica Filippo Scroppo, Torre Pellice-Turin
Made in Benin, Mirafiori Motor Village, Turin
Benin, curated by Egi Volterrani, VisionQuest Gallery, Genova
Mio padre (è un cuoco), curated by Rolando Bellini, Dieffe Arte Contemporanea, Turin
Anima e corpo, curated by Gabriella Serusi, Maché, Turin
India, Galleria Joyce Co, Genova
Neve, curated by Rolando Bellini, Mood Café, Turin
Senza titolo, Galleria Alberto Weber, Turin
Senza titolo, curated by Fondazione Italiana per la Fotografia, Circolo SottoLaMole, Turin
A piece each one…, CSAfarm Gallery, Turin
Virtuality ladder, Palazzo delle Stelline, Milan
Ricerche non conformi. Portrait&Self-portrait, Studio Paola Mongelli, Luserna San Giovanni, Turin
Oltre il buio.Il teorema di Bavcar, curated by Contemporart, Villa Piaggio, Genova
Illustrating Florence, curated by Roberto Mutti, XI Florence Biennale, Fortezza da Basso, Florence
Arteplurale, curated by Tea Taramino, Promotrice delle Belle Arti, Turin
Dal Mar Rosso a Yerushalaim, curated by Patrizia Fischer and Roberto Vaio, Crypt of S.Michele Arcangelo, Turin
Don’t forget… Arte per la Resistenza, curated by P.Fischer, Sala Bolaffi, Torino
Necessità del volto, curated by P.Mongelli and P.Probst, Casa del Conte Verde, Rivoli
Il mestiere di vivere, Libreria Antiquaria Biggio, Turin
Lo Stato dell’Arte-Piemonte, 54° Biennale di Venezia, curated by Vittorio Sgarbi, La Castiglia, Saluzzo
Erba e fior che la gonna, curated by Caterina Gualco and Clelia Belgrado, VisionQuest Gallery, Genova
Bad Girls, curated by C.Gualco and C.Belgrado, UnimediaModern Contemporary Art/ VisionQuest Gallery, Genova
Bergamo Artefiera, Dieffe Arte Contemporanea, Bergamo
Art Verona, Dieffe Arte Contemporanea, Verona
On the move, curated by Valentina Micheletto, UnimediaModern Contemporary Art, Genova
Ex Voto, curated by Alberto Weber, Palazzo Libera, Villa Lagarina, Trento/ Castello di Rivalta, Turin
Kafka. L’infinita metamorfosi di un processo, curated by A.Weber, La Castiglia, Saluzzo
Premio Odisseo-II Edition, curated by GAI, Gas Art Gallery and Franco Turcati ADV, Unione Industriale, Turin
Jack in the box, curated by L.Castellini, Oratorio della Beata Vergine, Vigoleno
Suoni e Visioni, curated by Fabrizio Boggiano, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Hamburg/Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce, Genova/ Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Copenhagen/ Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, San Marino
Uno-I passi della fotografia, curated by Emanuele Catellani and Luisella D’Alessandro, Galleria Zuma, Turin
X Premio Unicaja di Fotografia, curated by Fundaciòn Unicaja, Almerìa/ Malaga/ Antequera/ Ronda/ Càdiz/ San Sebastiàn
Gamberi di fiume, Luisella D’Alessandro collection, curated by Marisa Vescovo, Galleria Carlina, Turin/ Galleria Space4free, Milan
Blog on Rimbaud, curated by Franz Paludetto and Carlo Fatigoni, Castello di Rivara
Semi, Galleria Alberto Weber, Turin
Photocells, curated by F.I.F.and Label Magazine, Spazio & Ricerca, Turin
Arte e Natura, curated by Victor de Circasia, Martini Arte Contemporanea, Cavagnolo
Framework, curated by Rolando Bellini, Galleria Molinella, Faenza
My mirror, FROM THE BODY, curated by TorinoPERFORMANCEART, MarbleWeeks, Carrara
My mirror, TorinoPERFORMANCEART Festival, Greenbox, Turin
La liste, LA VERIFICA INTUITIVA, in collaboration with Audrey Cottin and Manuela Macco, Fondazione Merz, Turin