Carlo Mollino: Un Messaggio dalla Camera Oscura

Born into a Turin architect and civil engineer’s family, Carlo Mollino studied art history and architecture and made a name for himself as a skier, racecar driver and aerobatic pilot, as an author and photo artist. Yet his international renown is primarily based on his work as a designer of furniture and exclusive interiors in the spirit of the gesamtkunstwerk – the German philosophy of total art. His organic language of forms was not least inspired by the form of the female body – as particularly evidenced by the part of his photographic work he always kept private: over 1,000 Polaroids portraying beauties of Turin’s night life in the nude in mise-en-scène settings. The pictures were part of the preparation of his “House for the warrior’s rest” (today: Casa Mollino), a villa in Turin on the Po River. An exhibition, opening at this month at the Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna, will juxtapose furnishings of the villa with a selection of these Polaroids for the first time. It explores the boundaries and bridges between this universal artist’s male erotic imagination and his intellectual and artistic attitude. On view at the Kunsthalle Wien from August 31 to September 25.