Monday, April 26, 2010


While living in Italy, I tried to visit as many art galleries as possible. I remember walking through the streets and stumbling upon this poster of a half-naked woman's backside. The earthy, erotic setting created a peculiar vulnerability to the woman facing her own reflection and, thus, further sparked my curiosity to the event in which it was promoting. The image was used to advertise a Carlo Mollino exhibit near Piazza di Santa Maria Novella. For weeks, I sat in front of my calender, rearranging days to preview his work, and when the day finally arrived, I discovered more than I had expected.

Carlo Mollino (1905-1973) started his career as an architect and engineer, designing homes and furniture throughout his native Turin. However, his passion lied in photography and he based much of his earlier work on architectural models and interior designs along with images from hobbies such as skiing, driving, and flying. By the 1950s, Mollino focused on the objectivity of women, and began displaying their provocative nature in semi-pornographic polaroids for New Year's cards and personal archives.
Like every polaroid, its beauty lies in the authenticity of the moment captured; the one-of-a-kind snapshot that can't be duplicated without damaging the entirety of its appeal. Mollino's subjects were prostitutes, baring full-figured bodies positioned by his mastered vision in a backdrop of his own apartment setting. Each polaroid portrays a raw, abounding complexity which places an emphasis on natural aesthetics and its relationship to beauty and sensuality. Some of his work may expose more nudity than others, but what it really comes down to is this: women embody all human emotions, and with each portrait comes a story of lust, romance, hate, rebellion or sin that anyone can relate to.

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