ugo mulas' portraits of marcel duchamp + alberto giacometti revealed at new gallery in venice

ugo mulas' portraits of marcel duchamp + alberto giacometti revealed at new gallery in venice

Le Stanze della Fotografia presents inaugural Ugo Mulas show

 

Since 29 March, 2023, the city of Venice has a new home for photography: Le Stanze della Fotografia which opened its doors on the grounds of a former monastery on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. The gallery’s inaugural exhibition is dedicated to post-World War II Italian photographer Ugo Mulas, known for his black-and-white images that captured the rapid modernization of 1950s Milan, several Venice Biennales, his collaborations with notable artists such as Marcel Duchamp and Alexander Calder, and the Pop Art scene in New York.

 

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Mulas’ death on March 2, 1973, the show gathers more than 300 images, including 30 photographs never exhibited before, documents, books, publications, and films, offering a synthesis that allows a reading open to the different experiences of the famous photographer, always in search of the depth of ‘human quantity’. The operation was realized in collaboration with the Mulas Archive and curated by Denis Curti and Alberto Salvadori, director of the archive.

ugo mulas' portraits of marcel duchamp + alberto giacometti revealed at new gallery in venice
Ugo Mulas. L’operazione fotografica. Autoritratto per Lee Friedlander, 1971 © Eredi Ugo Mulas. Tutti i diritti riservati. Courtesy Archivio Ugo Mulas, Milano – Galleria Lia Rumma, Milano / Napoli

 

 

The work of Ugo Mulas

 

Serving as one of the most important representatives of international photography after World War II, Ugo Mulas (find more here) soon understood that being a photographer meant bearing critical witness to society. It was this awareness that guided his first reportages between 1953 and 1954: the suburbs of Milan and the artistic and cultural environment of the famous Bar Jamaica in the early 1950s. Mulas quickly established himself in the most diverse fields of photography, from fashion to advertising, publishing in numerous magazines. In these years he developed an important artistic collaboration with Giorgio Strehler, thanks to whom he published the photo chronicles ‘The Threepenny Opera’ (1961) and ‘Schweyck in the Second World War’ (1962).

 

Attention to the world of art and artistic production became one of the main interests of Mulas, who photographed the editions of the Venice Biennale from 1954 to 1972. In 1962 he documented the exhibition Sculptures in the City in Spoleto, where he came into contact with the American sculptors David Smith and Alexander Calder.

ugo mulas' portraits of marcel duchamp + alberto giacometti revealed at new gallery in venice
Ugo Mulas. Eugenio Montale, 1970 © Eredi Ugo Mulas. Tutti i diritti riservati. Courtesy Archivio Ugo Mulas, Milano – Galleria Lia Rumma, Milano / Napoli

 

 

The summer of 1964 is also of great importance for Mulas: at the Venice Biennale, American Pop Art is introduced to the European public; the photographer received the collaboration of the critic Alan Solomon and the support of the art dealer Leo Castelli, who introduced him to the American art scene during his first trip to the United States. This allowed him to document important painters at work, such as Frank Stella, Lichtenstein, Johns and Rauschenberg, and to portray important personalities such as Andy Warhol and John Cage. The collaboration with the Americans continued in 1965 and 1967, the year in which Mulas presented his analysis of the work of the artists with the publication of the famous volume ‘New York: Art and People’.

 

Also of great importance was the collaboration with Marcel Duchamp, which brought to light something deeper and more general in Mulas’s conception of portraits of artists. ‘Duchamp’s photographs – Mulas specifies – want to be more than a series of more or less successful portraits, they are rather an attempt to visually reproduce Duchamp’s mental attitude toward his own work, an attitude that materialized in years of silence, in a refusal to do that is a new way of doing, of continuing a discourse.’

ugo mulas' portraits of marcel duchamp + alberto giacometti revealed at new gallery in venice
Ugo Mulas. Marcel Duchamp, New York, 1965 – 1967 © Eredi Ugo Mulas. Tutti i diritti riservati. Courtesy Archivio Ugo Mulas, Milano – Galleria Lia Rumma, Milano / Napoli

 

 

The Photographic Operation

 

Verifiche (1968-1972), a series of thirteen photographic works in which Mulas interrogates himself through photography, is dedicated to the formal and conceptual analysis of photography. The title of the Venetian exhibition ‘Ugo Mulas. The Photographic Operation’ borrows from one of the verifications and summarizes the photographer’s extraordinary reflection.

 

The exhibition circuit includes 14 sections that cover all of Mulas’ areas of interest. From theater to fashion, with portraits of friends and personalities from literature, cinema and architecture photographed as ‘posing models’, from landscapes and cities to his experiences with the Venice Biennale and with artists of Pop Art. A section is dedicated, of course, to Milan and the famous Jamaica bar, described by the great Luciano Bianciardi in his book ‘La vita agra’ as the ‘bar of the Antilles’. This section is followed by a chapter dedicated to industrial projects and the most interesting experiences with Olivetti and Pirelli. The section concludes with the most important ‘series’ for Mulas himself, dedicated to Calder, Duchamp and the fundamental ‘tests’, which are certain to be considered one of the most interesting ‘critical thinking experiments’ on photography.

ugo mulas' portraits of marcel duchamp + alberto giacometti revealed at new gallery in venice
Ugo Mulas. Joan Miró, Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milano, 1963 © Eredi Ugo Mulas. Tutti i diritti riservati. Courtesy Archivio Ugo Mulas, Milano – Galleria Lia Rumma, Milano / Napoli

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Ugo Mulas. Alberto Giacometti riceve l’annuncio di aver vinto il gran premio, Venezia, Biennale 1962 © Eredi Ugo Mulas. Tutti i diritti riservati. Courtesy Archivio Ugo Mulas, Milano – Galleria Lia Rumma, Milano / Napoli

ugo mulas' portraits of marcel duchamp + alberto giacometti revealed at new gallery in venice
Ugo Mulas. Le opere degli artisti pop trasportate in laguna, XXXII Esposizione Biennale Internazionale d’Arte, Venezia, 1964 © Eredi Ugo Mulas. Tutti i diritti riservati. Courtesy Archivio Ugo Mulas, Milano – Galleria Lia Rumma, Milano / Napoli

ugo mulas' portraits of marcel duchamp + alberto giacometti revealed at new gallery in venice
Ugo Mulas. New York, 1964 © Eredi Ugo Mulas. Tutti i diritti riservati. Courtesy Archivio Ugo Mulas, Milano – Galleria Lia Rumma, Milano / Napoli

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Ugo Mulas. Il laboratorio. Una mano sviluppa, l’altra fissa. A Sir John Frederick William Herschel, 1970 – 1972 © Eredi Ugo Mulas. Tutti i diritti riservati. Courtesy Archivio Ugo Mulas, Milano – Galleria Lia Rumma, Milano / Napoli

ugo mulas' portraits of marcel duchamp + alberto giacometti revealed at new gallery in venice
Ugo Mulas. Tessuti Taroni, 1970 © Eredi Ugo Mulas. Tutti i diritti riservati. Courtesy Archivio Ugo Mulas, Milano – Galleria Lia Rumma, Milano / Napoli

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Ugo Mulas. Venezia, 1961 © Eredi Ugo Mulas. Tutti i diritti riservati. Courtesy Archivio Ugo Mulas, Milano – Galleria Lia Rumma, Milano / Napoli

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Ugo Mulas. Russia, 1960 © Eredi Ugo Mulas. Tutti i diritti riservati. Courtesy Archivio Ugo Mulas, Milano – Galleria Lia Rumma, Milano / Napoli
Ugo Mulas. Russia, 1960 © Eredi Ugo Mulas. Tutti i diritti riservati. Courtesy Archivio Ugo Mulas, Milano – Galleria Lia Rumma, Milano / Napoli
Ugo Mulas. Milano, 1953 - 1954 © Eredi Ugo Mulas. Tutti i diritti riservati. Courtesy Archivio Ugo Mulas, Milano – Galleria Lia Rumma, Milano / Napoli
Ugo Mulas. Milano, 1953 - 1954 © Eredi Ugo Mulas. Tutti i diritti riservati. Courtesy Archivio Ugo Mulas, Milano – Galleria Lia Rumma, Milano / Napoli
Ugo Mulas. New York, 1965 © Eredi Ugo Mulas. Tutti i diritti riservati. Courtesy Archivio Ugo Mulas, Milano
Ugo Mulas. New York, 1965 © Eredi Ugo Mulas. Tutti i diritti riservati. Courtesy Archivio Ugo Mulas, Milano
image © Alessandra Chemollo
image © Alessandra Chemollo
image © Alessandra Chemollo
image © Alessandra Chemollo
image © Alessandra Chemollo
image © Alessandra Chemollo
image © Alessandra Chemollo
image © Alessandra Chemollo
image © Alessandra Chemollo
image © Alessandra Chemollo
image © Alessandra Chemollo
image © Alessandra Chemollo
image © Alessandra Chemollo
image © Alessandra Chemollo
image © Alessandra Chemollo
image © Alessandra Chemollo
image © Alessandra Chemollo
image © Alessandra Chemollo

ugo mulas' portraits of marcel duchamp + alberto giacometti revealed at new gallery in venice
Ugo Mulas. La didascalia. A Man Ray, 1970 – 1972 © Eredi Ugo Mulas. Tutti i diritti riservati. Courtesy Archivio Ugo Mulas, Milano – Galleria Lia Rumma, Milano / Napoli

ugo mulas' portraits of marcel duchamp + alberto giacometti revealed at new gallery in venice
Gianni Berengo Gardin. Ugo Mulas, Campo Urbano, Como 1969 © Gianni Berengo Gardin/Courtesy Fondazione Forma per la Fotografi

ugo mulas' portraits of marcel duchamp + alberto giacometti revealed at new gallery in venice
Ugo Mulas. New York, 1965 © Eredi Ugo Mulas. Tutti i diritti riservati. Courtesy Archivio Ugo Mulas, Milano – Galleria Lia Rumma, Milano / Napoli

 

 

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