'Saturated bodies of colour banging into each other'
In a new series, artists exhibiting at Frieze London selected works at Frieze Masters that spoke to them. Sarah Crowner - who had a two-day solo presentation at Simon Lee Gallery (E6) - chose the presentation of Carol Rama with Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi in Spotlight (H15).
The whole installation at the stand was a fascinating mini lesson in the Italian avant-garde Carol Rama's life and work. There was a large rubber tire painting of hers, and a smaller white painting with pieces of what looked like tinted sliced mylar or plastic attached to it, and then a weird sweater-dress from the 1980s, which had tiny sculptural red lip-shapes stitched over the breast. I knew about Rama’s erotic watercolors - which I always loved - but the whole presentation showed the arc of her life's work; I wish I could have seen more.
One work which struck me was a small piece called Le Amice (‘The Friends’) from 1951. Its a very complex, personal and moving piece. Painted in a thick impasto, with saturated bodies of colour banging into each other, it begins as a portrait of two friends leaning against each other, but then at the bottom half dissolves into a geometric abstract design (their dresses?).The pair are sitting in front of another colourful patern. Their eyes are wide open black circles, too. The shape of their heads repeat, side-by-side. They become pattern. I wonder what these two friends are thinking, where they might be off to. Some kind of adventure, perhaps.