One of the exhibitions showing at the IMMA in Dublin at the moment, taking up the whole of the East Wing Galleries, is devoted to the Italian artist, Carol Rama. Born on 17 April 1918 she died at he end of last year on 25 September 2015 at the grand age of 97. The exhibition includes work right from the 1930’s when she first started to show her work, right up to recent years.
The IMMA’s website tells us
Ignored for decades by official art history, Italian artist Carol Rama is now recognised as essential for understanding developments within contemporary art. Her influence can be seen in the work of a later generation of artists such as Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker, Sue Williams, Kiki Smith and Elly Strik. Rama was belatedly recognised in 2003, receiving the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, one of the most prestigious international art exhibitions.
Her early works were controversial. Cartoonish surreal “erotic” watercolours of women’s bodies, many of them mutilated. These images were censored as “obscene” by the Italian government of 1945. I found them rather disturbing (the intended effect) and wasn’t so keen on them for both their subject matter and appearance. I didn’t like them, but recognise her right to have created and displayed them.
During her long life her style changed as she experimented with different approaches. So although I didn’t like her early works, and some similar ones produced later in her career, I did like a good number of the works in the exhibition. I snapped a few photos of some of those I did like, although the quality of the pictures isn’t so great.
I liked this political collage, entitled Resistance, from 1944
I particularly liked the works she had created using rubber from bicycle tyres since the end of the ’70s. her inspiration for this was her childhood as her father had a bicycle factory in Turin.
I also liked a number of her “bricolages” that she had created from he ’60s. Surreal collages incorporating objects such as taxidermy eyes, fingernails, mathematical symbols, syringes and electrical circuits. These were some examples.
The exhibition has already been to the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) and the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris (MAMVP), and EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art, and after Dublin will be shown at GAM – Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Torino