In his extraordinary and polymorphous figure, Carlo Mollino condenses both these aspects: Turinese by birth and always active in the Piedmontese capital, over recent decades, Mollino has become a figure appreciated far beyond the city and national borders, an eccentric maestro of 20th-century culture.”
“The Magic Eye of Carlo Mollino. Photographs 1934-1973”
18 January – 13 May, 2018
CAMERA – Centro Italiano per la Fotografia
Via delle Rosine 18, 10123, Torino
Among the best known and most celebrated architects of the 20th century, Carlo Mollino always had a special place for photography, using it both as an expressive medium and a fundamental tool of documentation and archiving of both his work and his everyday life. This exhibition, the largest and most complete every staged on the theme, investigates the relationship between Mollino and photography, highlighting its uniqueness and the recurring features, starting from the early images of architecture produced in the 1930s right up to the Polaroids from the last years of his life.
Following in the footsteps of his father Eugenio, an engineer and keen photographer, Carlo Mollino approached this expressive medium as a young man, developing not only a vast corpus of images midway between the traditional canon, of which he had a thorough knowledge, and the drive towards experimentation, but he also developed a peculiar critical awareness that led him in 1949 to publish Il messaggio dalla camera oscura (‘The Message from the Darkroom’): an innovative and fundamental volume for the promotion of photographic culture in Italy and for its acceptance among the main art forms.
The exhibition comes to a close with a number of documents, including letters, handwritten and typed manuscripts (in particular regarding the successive drafts of Il messaggio dalla camera oscura), and a series of postcards collected by Carlo Mollino from every corner of the globe, which as well as an attitude of constant research and curiosity, reflect his vivid interest in photography in every declination and expression.
All the materials on show, apart from a number of duly marked exceptions, come from the collections of Turin Polytechnic, the Archives of the Gabetti Library, and the Carlo Mollino Collection. “With great pleasure, the Archives section of the ‘Roberto Gabetti’ Central Library of Architecture welcomed CAMERA’s proposal to dedicate a wide-ranging exhibition to Carlo Mollino’s photographic production,” recalls Professor Sergio Pace of the DAD (Department of Architecture and Design) at Turin Polytechnic.
“Throughout his career, the great Turinese architect turned a special attention to this activity, thus leaving a detailed testimony not only of his own planning activity, but also and above all of the wide range of interests and often uncommon passions that made him such a unique figure on the Italian cultural panorama. There are thousands of shots, taken with a range of different techniques and often touched up by hand on the negatives and/or the positives: from the plate negative to that on film, from black and white to colour, from photomontage – produced together with his friend the photographer Riccardo Moncalvo – to the use of Polaroids for his most private shots, the archives of the Polytechnic house a precious collection, useful not only for understanding a unique maestro, but also constituting a key chapter in the history of 20th-century Italian photography. Also by virtue of the breadth of such horizons, it’s important to underline that the exhibition also exploits the first results of a project on the digitalisation of Carlo Mollino’s negatives, co-financed by the Piedmont Regional Council.”
The exhibition is accompanied by a publication issued by Silvana Editoriale containing reproductions of all the works on show, along with essays by Francesco Zanot, curator of the exhibition, Enrica Bodrato, Fulvio Ferrari and Paul Kooiker.