Galleria d'Arte
Raffaella De Chirico

Via Giolitti, 52

Via della Rocca, 19

10123 Torino

Ph +39 011.83.53.57





Carol Rama

Turin, 1918 - 2015


Carol Rama began painting as a teenager without any academic training, but her passion was supported by some key encounters, chief among them one with Felice Casorati. There were many relationships with intellectual friends from whom she absorbed information, knowledge, stimuli: from the poet Edoardo Sanguineti to the Turin musicologist Massimo Mila; from the painter Albino Galvano to architect Carlo Mollino; from Paolo Fossati to Carlo Monzino; from Luciano Berio to Eugenio Montale, just to name a few. In the early 1970s the gallery owner Luciano Anselmino paved the way for her to make some international contacts with the likes of Man Ray, Andy Warhol, Picasso.

Beginning in her teenage years she practiced painting regularly; it was a filter through which she processed images and objects of her everyday world and, simultaneously, a means by which to distill suffering by turning it into art. In her watercolors from the 1930s and 1940s, the roughness and thorniness of the subjects are mitigated by the structural elegance of the painting. Produced while in her twenties, with a blatant disregard for moral conformity and artistic fads (her first exhibition was closed even before opening its doors), these works display great technical and conceptual maturity.

In the years preceding the outbreak of war, the artist also approached oil painting, with dense color pastes and subjects that are often non-traditional. The experimentation continued: during the 1940s her interest in hatching was born which will materialize into the wonderful Le Parche series. This interest will reappear with unheard of freshness in the late 1990s, encouraged by gallery owner Franco Masoero.

After an experience with abstract art in the 1950s inside the Turin group Movimento d'Arte Concreta – MAC (she participated in the 1948 and 1950 Venice Biennials with abstract-concrete works), in the 1960s Carol Rama took a decisive turn whereby an object is physically inserted within the pictorial representation; it becomes the painting's color and form while still remaining a "thing". The painter began the wonderful series of collages that were so dear to her friend Edoardo Sanguineti who wrote memorable pages about them.

In the next pictorial phase, supported and assisted by Giancarlo Salzano, who will become the painter's gallerist for about thirty years, a new material became part of the pictorial composition: in the 1970s, tires and inner tubes were used as if they were paint, they are applied to monochrome canvases while retaining all the incisiveness of matter (rubber like skin and flesh, rubber as a memento of her father's business enterprise). In some paintings the material is even more evident: the inner tubes are not flattened onto the canvas but are casually hung from a metal hook.
After meeting Lea Vergine, the year 1980 witnessed her presence with many works from the 1930s and 1940s in a touring exhibition about the great female artists of the 20th century entitled "The other half of the avant-garde". Also curated by Lea Vergine, her first large retrospective exhibit in the square in front of the Cathedral of Milan is staged in 1985.

Beginning in the 1980s, the artist often used already printed sheets to paint on, returning to representation. These are technical drawings by architects and engineers, published in albums or as loose sheets, used as support, often upside down in relation to the finished work, resulting in a refined contrast between the linearity and precision of the printed sheet and the neat but moved mark, a-la-Schiele, of Carol Rama's figures.

Public exhibitions, such as a dedicated room at the 45th Venice Biennial in 1993, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva and set-up by her friend Corrado Levi, and the retrospective exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1998, then at Boston's ICA) curated by Maria Cristina Mundici, bring her to the attention of the international public.

The greatest public recognition on Italian soil came in 2003 when she was awarded the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the 50th Venice Biennial. In 2004, her hometown also devoted a large retrospective exhibition to her at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin (then at the MART in Rovereto and at the Baltic Museum of Gateshead) curated by Guido Curto. Other important exhibitions followed, including, in 2006, "Trama doppia" in Alghero in Sardinia (a Carol Rama solo exhibit interpreted by fashion designer Antonio Marras) and in 2008 the Carol Rama retrospective at the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa. From 2009 the artist, represented by gallery owner Isabella Bortolozzi from Berlin, won further international fame.

On the recommendation by the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, Carol Rama, represented by Corrado Levi, received the prestigious Premio Presidente della Repubblica from President Giorgio Napolitano in January 2010. Her last known work is from 2007 which closed a long and intense career that spanned more than 70 years.

The touring retrospective dedicated to her is currently at the MAM in Paris (until July 2015), then will go to the MACBA in Barcelona, to the EMMA in Helsinki in October, to the Dublin IMMA in April 2016, to conclude the tour at the GAM in Turin in October 2016.

Solo exhibitions:

2016
Turin, GAM, La passione secondo Carol Rama
New York, Fergus McCaffrey Museum, CAROL RAMA
Dulin, IMMA, Passion According to Carol Rama
Berlin, Isabella Bortolozzi Gallery, Ferite della memoria - selected works

2015
Helsinki, EMMA, Passion According to Carol Rama
Paris, MAM – Musée Art Moderne, La passion selon Carol Rama
Barcelona, MACBA – Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona

2014
New York, CRG Gallery, Prints

2013
Ascona, Museo Comunale d’Arte Moderna Ascona, Oltre L’opera Grafica

2012
Berlin, Isabella Bortolozzi, Spazia Anche Più Che Tempo
Dusseldorf, Kunsthalle Duesseldorf, Bose Zungen
Dusseldorf, Galerie Ute Parduhn, Cadeau & Idilli

2009
Berlin, Isabella Bortolozzi, Autorattristatrice

2008
New York, Maccarone Gallery, Good Manners
Genoa, Palazzo Ducale, L’occhio degli occhi
Den Haag, West Den Haag, Works on paper
Wien, Galerie Steinek, Eroica

2007
Turin, Galleria Franco Masoero, Carol Rama
Munchen, Galerie Karin Sachs, Carol Rama
Bellinzona, Galleria Balmelli Arte Contemporanea, Carol Rama
Capaccio, MMMAC – Museo Materiali Minimi d’Arte Contemporanea, Antologica. Opere su carta 1939-2005

2006
Brescia, Galleria dell’Incisione, La coda della cometa
Venice, Ca’ Pesaro, L’opera incisa 1944-2005
Dusseldorf, Galerie Ute Parduhn, Seduzioni

2005
Salzbourg, MAM Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art, FA VISSUTO
Wien, Galerie Steinek, Carol Rama
Gateshead, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Carol Rama

2004
Innsbruck, Galerie Im Taxipalais, Appassionata
Rovereto, MART – Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Carol Rama
Turin, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Carol Rama

1998
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Carolrama

1994
Milan, Monica De Cardenas, Carol Rama

Group exhibitions:

2016
Mexico City, Zona Maco Arte Contemporaneo

2015
Milan, Palazzo Reale, La Grande Madre, curated by Massimiliano Gioni
Turin, Raffaella De Chirico Contemporary Art, An Art of One’s Own
Copenhagen, Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, Moon Skin Lucid Walk
Turin, Galleria Zabert, Tentazioni a cura di Luca Beatrice

2014
Turin, Palazzo Cavour, Shit and Die
Turin, Flashback
Nottingham, Nottingham Contemporary, Carol Rama
Poznan, Art Stations by Grazyna Kulczyk, For Each Gesture Another Character

2013
Zurich, Galerie Haas AG, Abstrakte Musik – mit und ohne kohlensaure
Paris, MAM/ARC, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Decorum
Munchen, Kunstverein Munchen, Door Between Either And Or – Part 1
Berlin, CFA – Contemporary Fine Arts, Abstrakt
Venice, Venice Biennal
Berlin, Chert, Every Friend Of My Friend Is My Friend (part 2)

2012
Berlin, Isabella Bortolozzi, The Big Inexplicable Paravent Illusion
Paris, La Triennale, Intense Proximity
London, Campoli Presti, Dormitorio Pubblico
Turin, Allegretti Arte Contemporanea, Scatola Nera

2011
Guarene d’Alba, Palazzo Re Rebaudengo, To See an Object, to see the Light
Ravenna, MAR Museo d’Arte della città di Ravenna, L’Italia s’è desta 1945-1953

2010
Liverpool, Liverpool Biennal of Contemporary Art
Krems, forum frohner, Les Femmes Fatales
Berlin, Isabella Bortolozzi, Mehr Teppich / More Carpets
Tirana, National Gallery of Arts, Moods of 20th century

2009
Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Italics: Italian Art between Tradition and Revolution
London, Pilar Corrias Gallery, It’s fine as long as you draw but Don’t film
Berlin, Isabella Bortolozzi, Celebration
Milan, Galleria Riccardo Crespi, (Self)Portrait of a Lady


2008
Venice, Fondazione François Pinault, Italics
New York, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Pretty Ugly
Stockolm, Moderna Museet, Time & Place

2007
Milan, Palazzo Reale, Arte italiana 1968-2007
New York, White Columns, The Perfect Man Show

2006
Eislingen, Biennale der Zeichnung Eislingen

2004
New York, Esso Gallery and Books, Portraits
Milan, Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Cave Birds

2003
Venice, Venice Biennal 50

2002
Bologna, GAM Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Desire

1999
Ljubljana, 23rd International Biennal of Graphics Arts

1973
Rome, X Quadriennale Nazionale d’Arte


Carol Rama
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