Olga Carolina Rama
Born 17 April 1918 (age 95)
Field Painting, bricolage
Carol Rama (born 17 April 1918) is an Italian self-taught artist whose unconventional painting encompasses an erotic, and often sexually aggressive universe populated by characters who present themes of sexual identity with specific references to female sensuality. The Fondazione Sandretto carries over 150 pieces of Rama’s work. Her works were relatively little known until curator Lea Virgine included several pieces in a 1980 exhibition, prompting Rama to revisit her earlier watercolour style.
Carol Rama was born on 17 April 1918 to Marta née Pugliara and bicycle manufacturer Amabile Rama. When she was 15, her mother was admitted to a psychiatric clinic. Her father was bankrupt and committed suicide. As a young unmarried woman in fascist Italy, at 21 years of age, Carol Rama was already creating images that were challenging state censorship. Her first exhibition in 1945 at Galleria Faber was shut down by Turin police. Her early works were watercolour paintings and beginning in the 1950s she began incorporating objects such as hypodermic syringes and small mechanical parts into her art. In the 1960s, her primary material became strips of rubber from tyres.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, she had connections with filmmakers Luis Buñuel and Orson Welles as well as the visual artists Man Ray and Andy Warhol.
“I didn’t think I had the qualities, qualità, for becoming an artist,” Carol Rama told SAST Report in an interview, and continues with describing the view she had of the art scene: “beautiful women, primedonne, beautiful people who speak several different languages, sitting and being charming.”
At the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003, Rama was presented with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. The following year saw a retrospective of Rama’s work at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in her birthplace of Turin