Anger and violence to paint. Italian Carol Rama and her force


“Anger has always been the condition of my life. Anger and violence drive me to paint ” 

So many define Carol Rama as the Italian Louise Bourgeois. To my mind, that is slightly wrong: Carol Rama is Carol Rama, she doesn’t need to be compared to anyone. Unfortunately Rama has only found widespread acclaim late in life (yes, in this unjust delay we can also recognise a Bourgeois trait). Just after her Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale in 2003 (now she is 96 years old!) – her collages,  paintings, installations have started being exhibited around the world.


Now, Nottingham Contemporary dedicates an exhibition to her until September. I have been always mesmerized by her work: so terrible and playful- as just some dreams can be – and so strongly tied to her female being. A sexual force seems to move everything, involving mainly the unconscious and the body. These themes draw especially on her childhood. In fact, Rama describes her work as the result of her personal tragedies when she was young: a father that killed himself after a bankrupt and a mother suffering from mental illness: “I paint to heal myself”.


I went to see her once at Bologna Art Fair around 10 years ago. During her interview she sparked her great personality, so bizarre, so humble, so irreverent and clever – so dependent and independent at the same time. A real person & artist, without stucking up, without caring about the mainstream. She was honest and open, smiling mischievously to us, the audience.



Carol Rama with Andy Warhol




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