Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes
Lévy Gorvy, New York
January 24 - April 10, 2019
Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes (2019) expanded and enriched narratives surrounding the work of this celebrated artist of the Italian avant-garde. Curated by art historian Flavia Frigeri, Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes turned to Turin, where Rama was born and lived until she died in 2015. Establishing her work in the context of exhibitions, artists, and the formal and conceptual concerns she engaged with, the exhibiton made vivid the artistic landscape Rama occupied. It was presented by Lévy Gorvy, New York, in collaboration with Valentina Castellani.
Among the works on view was a selection of Rama’s early figurative watercolors, including Opera n. 18 (1939) and Appassionata (1941). Arriving from a raw, youthful perspective, this series of unabashedly sexual images were censored in the artist’s first solo exhibition at Turin’s Gaber Gallery in 1945. Also featured is a sequence of the artist’s Bricolage works dating from 1964 to 1968. Rama began this series of assemblages on canvas, titled by her lifelong friend, the poet Edoardo Sanguineti, in the 1960s, following her brief engagement with the Milan and Turin-based Concrete Art Movement (MAC). The densely arranged compositions feature such unusual and specific objects as taxidermy and doll eyes, surgical tools, fur, and rifle cartridges.
Resolutely autonomous for the entirety of her life, Rama never married nor lived with any romantic partners. Likewise, she refused to let the established male artists with whom she was often seen and photographed relegate her to the position of muse or disciple. The artist resisted any alignment with the established and male-dominated art historical canon and used her lack of formal training to remove herself from patriarchal lineages: “I don’t have any masters,” she stated, “the sense of sin is my master.”