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
October 12, 2016—February 5, 2017