Turin is rich in history and art. Particularly worth visiting are the private residences of two of the most important artists born, lived and worked in Turin: the architect and designer Carlo Mollino and the abstract artist Carol Rama, who were also friends and who open their private residences to the public. Make an appointment in advance and it is an almost three-dimensional biography of their lives.
Carol Rama (1918-2015) was an Italian artist from Turin who made a significant contribution to the development of modern art in Italy. Her work often challenged traditional social norms, exploring themes of sexuality, mental illness and personal identity.
Born into a wealthy industrial family, Rama was encouraged to have a traditional upbringing and was expected to marry and become a housewife. However, she rebelled against these expectations and instead pursued a career in art.
Carol Rama lived in the same apartment for 70 years. Much of her life’s work was created here. It is probably the artist’s most astonishing work.
The dark walls are covered with photographs, drawings, paintings, works by Man Ray, Andy Warhol, Felice Casorati or the artist herself, letters, writings, newspaper cuttings. On Carol Rama’s bed is the small wooden table on which the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale, which Rama received in 2003 for her life’s work, stands among vases, tins and figurines.
Each object is arranged according to a system that suited the artist, who died in 2015. In an interview she once explained that the things in her apartment became stories once they were given their predetermined place. The apartment was no longer an apartment, but a script, a storyboard for a film.
Carol Rama, born in Turin in 1918, is one of the outstanding contemporary artists whose fame came late. It was not until 1998 that a major exhibition of her work at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, curated by Maria Cristina Mundici, brought her to the attention of a wider international audience. The Golden Lion followed in 2003, when the artist was 85 years old. This was despite the fact that Rama began painting at the age of 14.
Even her first solo exhibition in 1945 caused a scandal – before it even opened, the police closed it down and confiscated the works, claiming they were offensive to public decency. Rama was a pioneer in many ways, from the way she dealt with the body and sexuality in her art in the 1930s and ’40s, anticipating themes of the 1960s and ’70s, to her own biography, with her mother’s mental illness and hospitalisation, the bankruptcy of her father’s company and his suicide.
If you want to see the apartment, you must book in advance. You can only enter with a guide in a small group of no more than four people. A visit costs 40 euros; the small private museum receives no funding. Bookings can be made at: https://archiviocarolrama.org/casa-studio