Thursday, September 1, 2011


One night back around 2002, I found a book in a now defunct bookshop on the shadier side of Central station. It was a big red book of female nudes captured in Polaroid by Carlo Mollino. I remember it so vividly because I really wanted it but didn't have the money. My then boyfriend now husband valiantly sacrificed his petrol and food budget for the week to buy it for me.

Carlo Mollino was an Italian designer and architect who had many passions, two of which included- women and furniture design. He was also a race car driver, writer, occultist, pilot and photographer. After he died in 1973 nearly 2000 Polaroids of female nudes were discovered conserved in ordinary letter envelopes and were later used to create his book simply titled 'Polaroids'.

It is hard to know what exact artistic merit Mollino gave these semi-stylised intimate portraits as there is no indication they were ever meant for exhibit. Regardless I think that as mementos they are both deeply personal and human. As art they scrape a boundary and hold contained risk. Either way I admire them.

To quote Mollino himself, "Everything is permissible as long as it is fantastic."

Images: Carlo Mollino 'Polaroids'

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