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Carol Rama, Appassionata, 1939
Carol Rama, Appassionata, 1939, watercolor on paper.


"I didn't think I had the qualities, qualità, for becoming an artist," Carol Rama told SAST REPORT, and continues with describing the view she had of the art scene: "beautiful women, primedonne, beautiful people who speak several different languages, sitting and being charming." Olga Carolina Rama, who is born in 1918, has always lived alone and in the same place in Italy, namely in Turin. The material she likes most: very soft sheet or very hard canvas, and tires. Explaining, she says tires remind her of her father, the factory; they remind her of power.


"Nobody in the world has ever been more pissed off than me," eighty-six year old Carol Rama likes to say. Traumas have marked her life. Her mother Marta, née Pugliara, was brought to an insane asylum when Carol was fifteen, bankruptcy drove her father Amabile Rama into suicide, unspeakable poverty followed. During this time the young girl started painting her sexually inspired watercolors. Seven decades later, in June 2003, Carol Rama was awarded the 'Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement' at the 50th Biennale di Venezia.


Carol Rama, Cerimoniale, 2003
Carol Rama, Cerimoniale, 2003, mixed media on framed canvas.


Carol Rama, Resistenza, 1944
Carol Rama, Resistenza, 1944, mixed media, oil and collage on canvas.


In "Resistenza", realized in 1944, Rama threw black and red paint onto the dead or nearly dead figures. The paint has run down like in a drip painting. In 1945, Carol Rama's first exhibition at the Galleria Faber in Turin was policed and closed by the Christian Democratic government because of the works' psychological and sexual aggressiveness. The watercolor drawings, some of which dated back to the 1930ies, of men fucking dogs, women shitting and screwing snakes, a hairy fat man stripped down to his spats masturbating, and latrines, had set off the censors. All the exhibited works were confiscated even before the exhibition could be opened and many of them remain vanished, says Carol Rama. The watercolors of the artist's early years only became known to a larger audience in 1980 at an exhibition at the Palazzo Reale Milano. Since the 1980ies, the erotic drawing has once again been her theme, which often include mythical figures and are drawn on sheets of paper printed with architectural or engineering plans.


During the 1950s Carol Rama turned to abstraction, adding body-specific materials to the paintings. The bricolages contain objects and everyday materials - like small mechanical parts, tiny rubber tubes, glass beads etc. - as well as paint and text.
In the late 1960s and early '70s she frequented the artistic and intellectual circles of Man Ray, Andy Warhol, Orson Welles and Luis Buuel.


Carol Rama, Feticci (Scarpa), 2004
Carol Rama, Feticci (Scarpa), 2004, bronze.



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