Carlo Mollino: Polaroids
One of the most dashing figures of mid-century Italy, Mollino was renowned both for his sleek, ultramodern furniture design and architecture and for his refined hedonism; he was a drug addict who raced cars and flew his own plane. Sometime around 1960, Mollino began to seek out women, mostly prostitutes, in his native Turin, bringing them to his villa for late-night modeling sessions, where they posed for Polaroid photographs, against backgrounds that he designed. The pictures remained a secret between Mollino and his subjects until after his death, in 1973, when some two thousand were found. 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.