Carol Rama (1918-2015)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Carol Rama (1918-2015)

Mucca Pazza (Mad Cow)

Carol Rama (1918-2015)
Mucca Pazza (Mad Cow)
signed and dated 'Carol Rama 1999' (on the reverse); titled 'MUCCA PAZZA' (on the stretcher)
inner tube, valve, polyurethane and leather on canvas
27 ½ x 39 3/8in. (70 x 100cm.)
Executed in 1999
Private Collection, Turin.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
New York, New Museum, Carol Rama: Antibodies, 2017, pp. 240 and 283 (illustrated in colour, p. 241).
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.
Further details
This work has been registered in the Archivio Carol Rama under no. 0142 and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the Archivio Carol Rama.

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Lot Essay

‘I’d like to paint everything black – it’s a kind of incineration, a kind of wonderful agony’
–Carol Rama

'Expressionist, Surrealist, Pop, Minimalist: Rama is all those things, and sometimes even appears anachronistic, knowingly outside the big identified movements and, for that very reason, eternally contemporary'
–Anne Dresse

With its harmoniously-ordered mixed media collage, Mucca Pazza (‘Mad Cow’) exhibits the potent combination of expressive freedom and formal poise that defines Carol Rama’s practice. The majority of the work sits on a background of black paint, bisected vertically by a cylindrical strip of grey rubber taken from the inner tube of a tyre; to its right is a section of similar material, pressed flat into a suede-like texture. Two orange tubes curve across the black space, from which hang, fruit-like, a pair of dark grey and ochre forms, also of flattened and painted rubber. There is a serenity to this image, but also a sense of the uncanny. The tubes have a bodily fleshiness, as if pulled from a living being and stretched across the canvas, while the bulbous shapes evoke both the udder of a cow and the human breast. Executed in 1999, Mucca Pazza tells several personal stories. It is one of a major series named for the BSE epidemic, television footage of which recalled the traumatic scenes Rama had witnessed as a teenager at her mother’s psychiatric hospital in the 1940s. Rama’s use of inner tubing also recalls her father, a small-time automobile and bicycle factory-owner who committed suicide after being declared bankrupt. In her art, Rama’s pain becomes a source of complex pleasure. The work exudes a sensual beauty in its curvaceous forms, and is further enriched by its use of colours, to each of which Rama appertained significance. Yellow reminded her of Gustav Klimt, red provided an erotic excitement, and grey represented her desire for high culture. But it was the black that dominates the composition’s background that Rama found the most potent. ‘I’d like to paint everything black,’ she said; ‘it’s a kind of incineration, a kind of wonderful agony’ (C. Rama, quoted in C. Levi, ‘Colours to Carol Rama’, in M. C. Mundici and B. Ghiotti, Inside Carol Rama, Turin, 2014, pp. 166-7).

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