Mel Ramos | Palazzo dei Sette : Orvieto

1 July - 31 December 2001 


Following the success of the exhibition in Bologna, Franco and Roberta Calarota present the art of Mel Ramos in the amazing Institutional Palazzo dei Sette a Orvieto with the patronage of the Municipality of Orvieto. The Americans artists belonging to Pop Art's first generation, famous for his sensual pin-ups, for this exhibition in Italy presents a group of 25 works, some of them specifically made for this exhibition, dedicated to the theme of  beauty. On big canvas, realized with a pastel colour palette, deliberately kitsch, Ramos celebrates a feminine ideal intertwining mythological figures and beauties of our time: an "Olympus" which reflects values and aesthetic standards from our mass culture. The artist creates an ironic and fun reinterpretation of art history contaminating it with mass media's language. Galatea, extracted from Ovid's Metamorphoses, mythical Pigmalion's bride, becomes half statue and half starlet, something between a Canova's sculpture and sexy movie, posing uninhibited on the basis of classical sculpture's repertoire as in Galatea and ErosGalatea and PanGalatea n. 4 with lion. Other figures lay on cigar, Hav-a-Havanna; they cling to bottles, Campari: You like it, it likes you; they stretch out on plates of candies and fish, Caciucco CutieDonut Doll, Rubarb Ruby; in alluring poses as in calendars. They are figures in between parody and the desacralization of the collective imaginary, and they use classical quotation to analyze with critical clarity the history of feminine myth, of ideal beauty and of the perfection of form. Mel Ramos contaminates modern art's classical iconography, the glossy and advertising one from the contemporary world to be ironic on media plagiarism and on the myth of the image, and even to show us how much our mass culture uses art as a source of ideas and icons, decontextualizing them and depriving them of their original meaning. In the paper-based series "The drawing lesson" the model poses next to her sketch in a double meaning game of the beauty and art of freedom of expression in contrast with advertising's impersonal and repetitive images.