The work of Felo Monzón that was rediscovered under wallpaper when the scenic space was rehabilitated returns to its original place
The mural by the artist Felo Monzón 'Composition with three figures', which more than 30 years ago was removed by the Cabildo of Gran Canaria from the old Cuyás cinema before the important work carried out to reconvert it into what is now the Cuyás Theater began , has returned more than two decades later to its entrance hall where it was painted during the fifties by one of the most celebrated creators and promoters of the visual avant-garde in the Canary Islands.
Monzón (Gran Canaria, 1910-1989) painted at just over forty years of age on one of the side walls of the cinema hall on Calle Viera y Clavijo where the Charles Vidor film, ' Gilda', a six-square-meter mural in which he would capture the image of austere peasant women in a balanced composition characterized by geometric shapes in which the artist vindicates the island's landscape and flora.
From the date of closure of the old Cuyás cinema in 1987 until the careful and delicate operation of extracting the mural by the Council of Culture of the Cabildo in 1993, the Monzón mural spent six years covered under the Japanese wallpaper with which Unfortunately, it was covered in one of the successive cleaning operations undertaken by the owners of the cinema some years before.
After the removal operation of the mural carried out by Beatriz Vilar, then a Cabildo technician, advised by Leandro de la Vega, restorer of the Historical Heritage Institute of the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Spain, it was kept packed for six years in a box made of wood in a warehouse in El Sebadal rented as a warehouse by the Council of Culture of the Cabildo. At the end of 1999, the mural was restored by the AB-57 team led by Pablo Carbonell, who worked to return the work to its splendor after the logical deterioration suffered during the complex process of separating the wall through the system known as 'stacco a massello' (removal of the painting with a large part of its stone support). That restoration cost at that time ten million of the old pesetas.
It was not an easy task to extract the Monzón mural from the plastered stone wall, discovered by chance during the work that would give a new theatrical purpose to the cinema. It should be noted that detachments of wall paintings from the architectural context are not very frequent in the field of conservation and are only carried out on extreme occasions. In the case of the Monzón mural, it was necessary to do so because the architectural project designed by Luis Correa for the Cuyás theater contemplated demolishing the wall in which it was precisely located, in order to locate a staircase required by safety regulations.
A company specializing in cuts without vibrations was responsible for sectioning the wall into a single block of the hall in half with a diamond steel wire using state-of-the-art technology at the time, and then protecting the paint with paper adhered with fish glue. Its large format, the weight of the piece and its inflexible characteristics of the materials then advised that it be placed in a suitable place where it could shine. Its new location was then the meeting room of the Institución Ferial de Canarias (INFECAR), where it has remained since 2000 to date.
Considered one of the most remarkable works of Felo Monzón's mural facet, the piece was treated with scrupulous care in its restoration process, which was carried out in two phases. In the first, physical-chemical and optical studies were carried out to determine its composition, as well as organoleptic studies that were carried out at the Institute for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Assets of the Ministry of Culture and at the analysis laboratory for restoration. and conservation of works of art at the Alfonso X El Sabio University, as well as various color sensitivity tests to obtain samples of both the base mortar and its different films.
Attached to a type of aluminum plate used in fuselages
In the second phase of restoration of the mural 'Composition with three figures', among other actions, the back of the work was treated, reducing its thickness and fixing it to a new support using aerolam (a type of aluminum plates used in the fuselages of the airplanes). In this last phase, coordinated by the restorer of the Historical Heritage Service of the Cabildo, María Cárdenes, the restoration technicians Meritxell Barroso, Nuria Pajares, María Dolores Mardones and Gracia de Prado worked together with Carbonell.
In 1999 the Cuyás theater was inaugurated. Detached from its hall since then, Felo Monzón's mural has survived oblivious to the noise and bustle of public access to its room for 22 years, as it was once a witness, long before its definitive closure in 1987. Now it returns to its hall original, although located in another area of said space.
Felo Monzón's mural production does not contain many examples like the one we are dealing with. The interior design projects that the artist carried out for some buildings in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, which included murals, have unfortunately disappeared. Only one is preserved in an exemplary manner inside the pharmacy of José Doreste, in Vegueta. Another of indigenous style that was preserved in the old Royal hotel in Teror (transferred to a frame in its day) and executed with the 'marouflage' technique (painted fabric and attached to the wall) was dismantled more than fifteen years ago from its original place .