• Installation view: Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes.

    Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes. Installation view, Lévy Gorvy, New York, 2019. © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino. Photo: Farzad Owrang.

  • Installation view: Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes.

    Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes. Installation view, Lévy Gorvy, New York, 2019. © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino. Photo: Farzad Owrang.

  • Installation view: Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes.

    Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes. Installation view, Lévy Gorvy, New York, 2019. © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino. Photo: Farzad Owrang.

  • Installation view: Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes.

    Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes. Installation view, Lévy Gorvy, New York, 2019. © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino. Photo: Farzad Owrang.

  • Installation view: Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes.

    Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes. Installation view, Lévy Gorvy, New York, 2019. © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino. Photo: Farzad Owrang.

  • Installation view: Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes.

    Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes. Installation view, Lévy Gorvy, New York, 2019. © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino. Photo: Farzad Owrang.

  • Installation view: Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes.

    Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes. Installation view, Lévy Gorvy, New York, 2019. © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino. Photo: Farzad Owrang.

  • Installation view: Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes.

    Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes. Installation view, Lévy Gorvy, New York, 2019. © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino. Photo: Farzad Owrang.

  • Installation view: Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes.

    Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes. Installation view, Lévy Gorvy, New York, 2019. © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino. Photo: Farzad Owrang.

  • Installation view: Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes.

    Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes. Installation view, Lévy Gorvy, New York, 2019. © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino. Photo: Farzad Owrang.

  • Installation view: Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes.

    Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes. Installation view, Lévy Gorvy, New York, 2019. © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino. Photo: Farzad Owrang.

  • Installation view: Carol Rama, Eye of Eyes.

Carol Rama: Eye of EyesExhibition

New York
January 24 - April 10, 2019

Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes

Lévy Gorvy is pleased to present Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes – an exhibition that expands and enriches narratives attending the work of this celebrated figure of the Italian avant-garde. Curated by art historian Flavia Frigeri, Eye of Eyes turns to the city of Turin, where Rama was born and lived until her death in 2015. Siting her work in the context of the exhibitions she visited, the artists she was in conversation with, and the formal and conceptual concerns she encountered in the efforts of her contemporaries, the exhibition makes vivid the artistic landscape Rama occupied.

Defiantly deviant, Rama’s art is animated by raw, maverick energy. Alternately described as “sensurrealism,” “organic abstraction,” and “porn brut,” it moves between inspiration and madness, exulting in states of abjection and obsession. Inextricable from her womanhood, Rama’s oeuvre stands out in a male-dominated art world for its frank exploration of feminine and queer desires. Although counting such artists and writers as Felice Casorati, Pablo Picasso, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Italo Calvino, and Carlo Mollino as friends, she maintained a resolute autonomy, surpassing available critical vocabularies that sought to contain her idiosyncratic vision.

Among the works on view will be a selection of Rama’s early figurative watercolors, including Opera n. 18 (1939) and Appassionata (1941). Arriving from a raw, youthful perspective, this series of unabashedly sexual images was censored in the artist’s first solo exhibition, at Turin’s Gaber Gallery in 1945. Also featured is a sequence of the artist’s Bricolage works dating from 1964 to 1968. Rama began this series of assemblages on canvas, titled by her lifelong friend, the poet Edoardo Sanguineti, in the 1960s, following her brief engagement with the Milan and Turin-based Concrete Art Movement (MAC). The densely arranged compositions feature such unusual and specific objects as taxidermy and doll eyes, surgical tools, fur, and rifle cartridges.

Resolutely autonomous for the entirety of her life, Rama never married nor lived with any romantic partners. Likewise, she refused to be relegated to the position of muse or disciple of the established male artists with whom she was often seen and photographed. The artist firmly resisted any alignment with the established and male-dominated art historical canon, using her lack of formal training to remove herself from any patriarchal lineage: “I don’t have any masters,” she stated, “the sense of sin is my master.”

The exhibition is presented in collaboration with Valentina Castellani.

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Selected Works

1/
  • Carol Rama.
    Presagi di Birnam,
    1994.
    Rubber tires and iron hook on canvas with sheet metal,
    53 x 23 inches (135 x 60 cm).
    © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino.
    Photo: Elisabeth Bernstein.

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  • Carol Rama.
    Senza titolo,
    1967.
    Ink, glue, and doll eyes, on paper mounted on cardboard,
    13 x 18 inches (35 x 46 cm).
    © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino.
    Photo: Tom Powel Imaging.

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  • Carol Rama.
    Bricolage,
    1966.
    Hide, lacquer, enamel, and synthetic resin on canvas,
    40 x 28 inches (102 x 72 cm).
    © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino.
    Photo: Elisabeth Bernstein.

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  • Carol Rama.
    Le siringhe,
    1967.
    Glue, spray paint, and syringes on canvas,
    43 x 43 inches (109 x 110 cm).
    © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino.
    Photo: Elisabeth Bernstein.

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  • Carol Rama.
    Arsenale,
    1971.
    Rubber tire on canvas,
    31 ½ x 39 ½ inches (80 x 100 cm).
    © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino.
    Photo: Elisabeth Bernstein.

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  • Carol Rama.
    Senza titolo,
    1944.
    Colored pencil and watercolor on paper,
    12 x 8 inches (31 x 21 cm).
    © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino.
    Photo: Elisabeth Bernstein.

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  • Carol Rama.
    Bricolage,
    1964.
    Oil, lacquer, beads, and metal shavings on Masonite,
    27 x 20 inches (69 x 51 cm).
    © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino.
    Photo: Elisabeth Bernstein.

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  • Carol Rama.
    Definizione d'usura,
    1977.
    Tires, paper, and gouache on canvas,
    21 5/8 x 29 1/2 inches (55 x 75 cm).
    © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino.
    Photo: Elisabeth Bernstein.

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  • Carol Rama.
    Perdonami le congiunzioni,
    1969.
    Enamel, varnish, vinyl glue, and taxidermal eye,
    43 x 43 inches (110 x 110 cm).
    © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino.
    Photo: Elisabeth Bernstein.

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Video

Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes

March 15, 2019

Publications

Selected Press

Artforum | Review: Carol Rama

May 1, 2019

Born in 1918 in Turin, Carol Rama stayed there for close to a century, until her death in 2015.

The Art Newspaper | Three Exhibitions to See in New York This Weekend

February 28, 2019

From a view of the West from China, to Carol Rama's weird works made from dolls eyes.

The New Yorker | Carol Rama

February 13, 2019

The Italian artist, who died in 2015, at the age of ninety-seven, exhibited during her lifetime, but …

The New York Times | What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week

February 12, 2019

For many people, including me, the New Museum’s 2017 exhibition of the work of Carol Rama — her first …

Artribune | Eye of Eyes, a New York la galleria Lévy Gorvy dedica una mostra all’artista italiana Carol Rama

February 5, 2019

È dedicata all’artista torinese la mostra attualmente in corso alla galleria Lévy Gorvy nella Grande …

Il Giornale dell'Arte | Carol Rama prende la scena a New York

January 24, 2019

Nella settimana del Martin Luther King Day, in cui a pochi blocchi di distanza inaugura Lucio Fontana …

Widewalls | At Levy Gorvy, Carol Rama and Her Beloved Turin

January 24, 2019

The art history is apparently saturated with really talented artists whose practices were not properly …

Blouin Artinfo | “Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes” at Lévy Gorvy, New York

January 18, 2019

Levy Gorvy will be exhibiting “Carol Rama: Eye of Eyes” at its New York venue from January 24 through …

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