The Passion according to Carol Rama offers an overview of a multi-faceted body of work by the Italian artist. This is a hybrid oeuvre in which subject and medium coalesce, from mouth/watercolour to penis-breast/rubber and eye/bricolage. A seeming jumble of themes and materials, Rama's different series in fact come together as a coherent whole, tackling notions like madness, fetishism, ordure, abjectness, pleasure, animality and death.
Born into a traditional Catholic bourgeois family in Turin in 1918, this self-taught artist has said, 'I've never needed a model for my painting; the sense of sin is my teacher.' Beginning with the early 1930s watercolours that caused censorship clashes, she developed a distinctive visual system at odds with normative, male-dominated modernism. In 1950 her work took an abstract turn, moving towards a personal, organic vision of Concrete Art. Twenty years later she began using strips cut from bicycle tyres as sensual, minimalist 'image material'. In 1980 she reverted to figuration with watercolours painted on architectural illustrations. Her most recent major series, dating from the 2000s, takes its inspiration from mucca pazza (mad cow disease) and consists of provocative rubber compositions that could be termed 'queer Arte Povera'.
Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris Website