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Carlo Mollino: Polaroids

Foreword by James Crump. Text by Fulvio Ferrari, Napoleone Ferrari, Silvio Curto.

Carlo Mollino: PolaroidsIn a career that spanned more than four decades, Carlo Mollino designed buildings, homes, furniture, cars and aircraft. One of the most dashing figures of mid-century Italy, Mollino was famed for his design finesse and his elegant organicism. In 1949 he published an important book on photography: Message from the Darkroom. Sometime around 1960, he began to seek out women-mostly dancers-in his native Turin, inviting them to his villa for late-night modeling sessions. The models would pose against extraordinary backdrops, designed by Mollino, in clothing, wigs and accessories that he had carefully selected. Finally, having printed the Polaroids, Mollino would painstakingly amend them with an extremely fine brush, to attain his idealized vision of the female form. The pictures, which totaled around 1,200, remained a secret until after his death, in 1973. Only a few were ever publically shown, until the acclaimed first edition of this volume was published by James Crump in 2002. Reviewing that book, The New Yorker declared, "This lavish selection of several hundred Polaroids preserves the essential mystery of a project both decadent and hermetic. Though clearly the product of a deep obsession, the photographs are deliberately impersonal, each baroque detail an invitation for the viewer to imagine Mollino's encounters with the women." Now back in print, with a newly designed cover, this beautiful volume offers a captivating portrait of a unique erotic sensibility.
Carlo Mollino (1905-1973) studied mechanical engineering, art history and architecture before working in the architectural practice of his father, Eugenio Mollino, in Turin. His first architectural masterpiece was the Turin Equestrian Association headquarters (1937). In 1965 he designed the Teatro Regio in Turin, which is now regarded as one of his best works. A 1949 Mollino table was sold at auction by Christie's in 2005 for a staggering $3.8 million. In 1960-68 he designed an enigmatic apartment for himself that today has become the Museo Casa Mollino.

Featured images are reproduced from Carlo Mollino: Polaroids.


W Magazine

Karin Nelson

Sheer Magic: Channel the women from the new book CARLO MOLLINO: POLAROIDS (Damiani) which inspired our photo shoot


Sherri Balefsky

'Carlo Mollino: Polaroids' was published, revealing a number of the more than 1,200 photographs Mollino had taken of women in the semi-nude-a cache that remained a secret until after his death in 1973. This October, the book will be re-released with a new cover that will no doubt delight new and old Mollino fans alike.

American Suburb X

Owen Campbell

Carlo Mollino: Polaroids is a collection of these photographs, selected from the roughly 1200 surviving Polaroids, never exhibited during his life, which were found following his death in 1973. The images are best described by adjectives closely associated with the presence of money: rich, sumptuous, lavish. They are all eroticized images of women, but the subject is not sex. It’s clear that more so than the human body, Mollino was attracted to the aesthetic abstraction of beauty as a lifestyle. The photographs have been composed, staged and directed with the desire to conquer nature with artifice.

The eros in Mollino’s work assumes a melancholy, poisonous aspect with the understanding of the circumstances of its production: part of an aging bachelor’s desire to perfect the decoration of his house. There is something of satyriasis, or Don Juanism, the male equivalent of nymphomania, in Mollino’s work, as if they were undertaken compulsively, and perhaps without joy, as part of a doomed project to reach an unattainable ideal: the tragic desire to keep thousands of women in an empty house.

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Carlo Mollino: Polaroids

STATUS: Out of stock indefinitely.



Carlo Mollino: Polaroids

Carlo Mollino: Polaroids

"Created entirely surreptitiously, and perhaps intended by the artist as a kind of final offering that might solve the riddles to understanding his life's work after death, the Polaroid nudes are tinged by a frisson of carnal abandon and impending climax and release. Fetishistic in their exacting detail to each provocative pose, mise-en-scène and material surfaces, and often explicitly revealing the sitters' sex, Mollino's Polaroid nudes are highly directed pictures in which nothing was left to chance… Mollino first had identified each of these nubile creatures as viable subjects. Girls from the streets of Turin, some of them professionals, friends, models, possible mistresses and women that randomly crossed Mollino's path were enlisted to collaborate in the production of these images in which the subjects are often semi-clad wearing the shoes, jewelry and fashion selected for them by Mollino and often posed with Mollino's radical furniture designs and the sensual accoutrement of his architectural and interior worlds. " Featured image and excerpt from James Crump's introductory text are reproduced from Carlo Mollino: Polaroids, the must-have book of vintage nude photography from Damiani/Crump. continue to blog


Carlo Mollino: Photographs 1934–1973


Silvana Editoriale

ISBN: 9788836638987
USD $50.00
| CAN $67.5

Pub Date: 10/8/2019
Active | In stock

Message from the Darkroom



ISBN: 9788889082034
USD $240.00
| CAN $320

Pub Date: 3/1/2007
Active | Out of stock