Carol Rama
GAM, Turin

23 December 2016

The Passion According to Carol Rama, at the GAM in Turin, is a wonderful and timely exhibition that brings to a close a tour of almost two hundred works around some of the most influential museums in Europe, from the MACBA in Barcelona to the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. In some ways the retrospective is also a homecoming, even though Carol Rama left us last year, after having lived for almost a century in this magical and reserved city, in the shadow of less daring artists. The exhibition is staged on the basement level of the museum: a large and somewhat secluded space, suited to the presentation  of mysterious anatomies, fetishisms and erotic, subliminal and ironic imagery. The works of Carol Rama are the manifestation of a “base materialism,” to quote Bataille, or, as her friend the poet Eduardo Sanguineti described them, of an art suspended “between a refined brut and a cultured naïf.” The GAM has arranged them in a manner based on material stimuli, while recognizing the existence of three main groups: the watercolors, in which we find snakes, lesbian couples and disrespectful—or liberating?—references to the history of art; bricolage, or paintings in relief, where, between blots of color and brushstrokes, the chosen objects, symbols of secret rituals, sink into the fabric of the picture; finally, the rubbers, created out of a mutant material par excellence, with their multiple allusions to travel, sex and the skin. Carol Rama breaks every taboo, conveying without reservation the flavor of a 20th-century freedom that others artists have enjoyed in secret: a freedom for which she paid the price of oblivion and rejection almost all her life.

The Passion According to Carol Rama
Curated by Teresa Grandas, Paul B. Preciado and Anna Musini
GAM, Turin
October 12, 2016—February 5, 2017

La Passione secondo Carol Rama, GAM, Torino.

The Passion According to Carol Rama, GAM, Turin. Installation view.

La Passione secondo Carol Rama, GAM, Torino.

The Passion According to Carol Rama, GAM, Turin. Installation view.

La Passione secondo Carol Rama, GAM, Torino.

The Passion According to Carol Rama, GAM, Turin. Installation view.

La Passione secondo Carol Rama, GAM, Torino.

The Passion According to Carol Rama, GAM, Turin. Installation view.

La Passione secondo Carol Rama, GAM, Torino.

The Passion According to Carol Rama, GAM, Turin. Installation view.

Carol Rama, Seduzioni, 1985. Fondazione Guido ed Ettore de Fornaris Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Torino. Foto: Rampazzi, 1989.

Carol Rama, Seductions, 1985. Fondazione Guido ed Ettore de Fornaris, Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Torino, Turin. Photo: Rampazzi, 1989.

Carol Rama, Bricolage, 1967.

Carol Rama, Bricolage, 1967. Private collection, Italy. Photo: Gasull Fotografia.

Carol Rama, Lusinghe, 2003. Collezione Charles Asprey, Londra. Foto: Andy Keate.

Carol Rama, Flattery, 2003. Collection Charles Asprey, London. Photo: Andy Keate.

Carol Rama, C'è un altro metodo per finire, ancora, 2003. Collezione privata, Torino. Foto: Andy Keate.

Carol Rama, Still Another Method for Finishing, 2003. Private collection, Turin. Photo: Andy Keate.

Carol Rama, Bricolage, 1967. Collezione privata, Torino. Foto: Tommaso Mattina.

Carol Rama, Bricolage, 1967. Private collection, Turin. Photo: Tommaso Mattina.

Carol Rama, Le malelingue, 1997. Collezione Franco Masoero, Torino. Foto: Courtesy Collezione Franco Masoero, Torino.

Carol Rama, The Gossips, 1997. Collection Franco Masoero, Turin. Photo: Courtesy Collection Franco Masoero, Turin.

Carol Rama, Passionate, 1939. Collezione privata. Foto: Colecció particular, Torí.

Carol Rama, Passionate, 1939. Private collection. Photo: Colecció particular, Torí.

Carol Rama, Portrait of Massimo Mila, 1984.

Carol Rama, Portrait of Massimo Mila, 1984. Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT; GAM (Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea), Turin; Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea.

Carol Rama, Appassionata, 1943.

Carol Rama, Passionate, 1943. Private collection, Turin. Photo: Roberto Goffi.

Carol Rama, Opera n. 11 (Renards), 1938.

Carol Rama, Opera No. 11 (Foxes), 1938. Private collection, Turin. Photo: Studio Dario & Carlos Tettamanzi.

Carol Rama, Arsenale, 1970.

Carol Rama, Arsenale, 1970. Property of the Chamber of Commerce, Turin, Italy.

Carol Rama. Foto: Roberto Goffi.

Carol Rama. Photo: Roberto Goffi. © Archivio Carol Rama.


Sara Dolfi Agostini

A curator and journalist, she lives between Italy and the United States, but often changes course to visit museums, biennials and artist’s studios. Specializing in contemporary art and photography, she co-curated the public art project ArtLine Milano and wrote the book Collezionare Fotografia (2010, with Denis Curti). She has been contributing to Il Sole 24 Ore since 2008.


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