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Carol Rama

Carol Rama, Appassionata (Passionate), 1943, watercolor on paper, 9 × 7 1/8". © Archivio Carol Rama, Turin.

ALL HER LIFE, Carol Rama stuck her tongue out. To the bigots, the fascists (from Mussolini to Berlusconi), the petit bourgeois patriarchs, the art world—to convention in general. Sticking out your tongue is childish, provocative; but it is also the physical reflex of a body under real pressure. Rama had trouble fitting in to the society in which she lived. Yet she did not invent or take refuge in another fictive one. Instead, in an undeniable resistance, she kept questioning, disturbing, and shocking the social order through her life and her art.

When I met Rama in Turin, about three years ago—while preparing the 2014–17 touring exhibition I curated at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris with Paul B. Preciado and Teresa Grandas—I feared it was already too late. But I needed to see her, even if she could not speak any longer. She sat waiting for me in her

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