In 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.
Read the review by Christopher J. Johnson on photo-eye Blog