press release

BALTIC presents the first ever UK solo exhibition by Carol Rama - a unique retrospective withworks from 1936 - 2003.

Rama represents the first of a generation of artists to explore thetheme of female identity, making explicit reference to the body and female sexuality. Often likened to Italy’s equivalent of Louise Bourgeois, Rama is finally receiving the long overdueinternational recognition that she deserves, although she has been esteemed for many years inItaly, where she has spent her entire life. This exhibition - the first retrospective of her work offers a complete insight into her artistic production, and comprises over 100 works.The exhibition starts with the raw and violently erotic, autobiographical watercolours created from 1936-1940, during the mental illness of the artist’s mother and the darkest moments of Fascistrule in Italy. It goes on to explore the development of Rama’s career, from the watercolours of the40’s in which female nudes are depicted tied to hospital beds, with limbs amputated, through to her abstract works of the 50’s and her compositions of the 60’s, when her interest in humanbodies and organic materials was explored through the use of actual objects such as animalclaws, corks, skins and tyres. In the 80’s and 90’s Rama returns to figuration, and her images reveal new protagonists – the mad cow, Birnam and Buster Keaton, painted or drawn on oldmaps or pieces of used paper. Today, at eighty-six, she returns again to the theme of the bodyand her work continues to speak volumes to a younger generation of artists. Throughout her career Rama has had a great ability to anticipate many of the current trends incontemporary art and for such reason she was awarded the Golden Lion for lifetime achievementat the 50 th edition of the Venice Biennale. Carol Rama, Retrospective is presented at BALTICfrom 22 January – 24 April 2005. The exhibition is curated by Guido Curto and Giorgio Verzotti, co-produced by the Fondazione Sandretto ReRebaudengo and MART, Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, where it has been previously presented in March-June 2004 and September-November 2004 respectively.

Carol Rama Olga Carolina Rama, known to the art world as Carol Rama, was born in Turin on 17 April 1918.In the 30’s she frequented the studio of artist Felice Casorati (1883 – 1963) and it was herethat she began to make her first portraits. In the 30’s and 40’s she depicted female nudes inwatercolour on paper. Works like Nonna Carolina (1936) and Appassionata (1941) comefrom this, and anticipate by many years the neoavantgarde contemporaries such as the Post-Humans. In the 50’s she took part in the abstract movement of MAC (Movement of Concrete Art)and showed this work at the Venice Biennale in 1948 and 1950. In the 60’s Rama left MACalthough she maintained a special interest in the ‘organic’ aspects she displayed in her youth.This was the period of the ‘bricolages’, a term representing her compositions on paper orcanvas, incorporating fake glass eyes and other objects such as nails, claws, syringes. In the70’s Rama began to add inner tubes from bicycles to these ‘bricolages’ which weredissected, opened-up and glued on in numerous different ways. In the 80’s Rama moveddecisively back to figuration and by 1991 her works were once again characterised by anintense and vivid use of colour and populated with some of the familiar figures of her early work.

Exhibition Catalogue An exhibition catalogue, written and edited by Guido Curto, lecturer in art history at the TurinArt Academy (Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti di Torino) and Giorgio Verzotti, Chief Curator at MART, Museo di Arte Moderna eContemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, accompanies the exhibition. It includes texts byGuido Curto, Giorgio Verzotti, Francesco Bonami and Judith Kirshner and copies will beavailable from the BALTIC shop.

Carol Rama Conference - Friday 11 MarchTo celebrate this major retrospective, BALTIC is hosting a conference exploring the issues raisedby Rama’s work.


only in german

Carol Rama Retrospective