On September 24th 2015, Carol Rama died in Turin at the age of 97.
For a country that defines a “young artist” as either a man or woman in their forties it was not that surprising that she received the Leone d’Oro for her carrier during the art Biennale in Venice in 2003.
Carol Rama has acquired international fame with the mono graphic exhibition (with 200 works) organised in October 2014 by the MACBA in Barcelona, which continued in the spring of 2015 at the Paris Mam and is expected to go to Helsinki and Dublin to arrive finally at GAM in Turin at the end of 2016. During an interview she claimed to be really upset to be recognised so late after spending her entire life dedicating herself to her work.
Born in 1918 she started painting as a teenager without any academic training, but supported by some important artists of the time, such as Felice Casorati. She had friendships with worldwide famous artists: Edoardo Sanguineti, Eugenio Montale, Man Ray, Andy Warhol, Picasso. Eccentric and outrageous, her first solo exhibition in Turin in 1945 at the gallery Faber, was closed because it was deemed obscene.
“I paint on instinct and I paint for passion, and anger and violence, and sadness, and to a certain fetishism, and for joy and sadness together, and especially anger. My paintings will appeal to those who suffered.”
The world she was painting was populated with animals, bodies parts, mouths, vulvas and penises, lunatic asylums, cage beds and wheelchairs, orthopedic implants, expressing an explicit eroticism and mournful recollections, sickness, melancholy and happiness, teeth, eyes, tongues and snakes.
It was a world of symbols and ailments that we all had a hard time digesting, generated by a soul with a difficult life full of anguish and loss.
Carol’s mother ended up in a madhouse and her father committed suicide after his company went bankrupt: images of her past, her pain, her twisted desire of life, love and acceptance whirl into an imaginary that was both her salvation that her damnation.
Watching one of her few interviews one is struck by the solidity of her subversion: nothing could have ever distracted her frowning look, her vital anger, her pure rebellion.
Carol Rama Interview (in Italian)