Ever since the enigmatic Italian architect and designer Carlo Mollino died in 1973, leaving behind a secret residence in Turin, wildly improbable speculations concerning the apartment’s “true” purpose have enthralled the art world. Whatever conjecture shrouds Casa Mollino, its allure and beauty are undeniable, and it has become a site of pilgrimage for art enthusiasts.
“Mollino/Insides” is a testament to the designer’s enduring legacy and impact on artists today. The three-person show teases a look inside the flat through paintings by Enoc Perez and photography by Brigitte Schindler, which are punctuated by contributions from Mollino himself. Perez offers intimate glimpses of the interiors, executing them in his trademark transferral of paint onto canvas using sheets of paper; images like 2 Via Giovanni Francesco Napione, Turin Casa Mollino, 2018, with its custom-made forest-print wallpaper and yellow chandelier, almost resemble etching.
Monumental in scale, Schindler’s meticulously crafted photographs focus on unusual angles of the house, playing with the spatial confusion created by its many mirrors. Printed on cotton paper and framed without glass, the photographs look like luxurious paintings. In La persistenza della memoria. S.D. (The Persistence of Memory, 2019), the linear moldings of a green wall contrast with the curves of a cast of a naked back and buttocks. A butterfly perches on a round brass mirror, which reflects a bust of a woman set against a leopard-print wall.
The exhibition ends with a curtained-off space where viewers can gaze at Mollino’s artfully staged erotica of beautiful women in varying degrees of undress. Shot between the 1950s and 1970s, the photographs were discovered only after the designer’s death, yet another cryptic element of his legacy.