A message from master Ugo Mulas to all the art trotters on Instagram


The photographer Ugo Mulas has been not only a wit observer, but also a reliable interpreter of what happened in the art world during the ’60s in the United States and in Italy. Far from being only a reporter, he considered his practice as a learning experience and this “cognitive” approach to reality characterized all his body of work. But would it be correct to consider his photography as an exercise in art criticism? According to Mulas the answer is certainly so.


Shortly before his death he wrote: “when I photograph a painter, I often try to get out of the kind of ‘photos of news’, and I also try to avoid the normal portrait, the lovely portrait, because what interests me is to give an idea of the character in relation to the result of his work, that is to figure out which of his ways and attitudes are crucial with respect to the final result” (The photograph, 1973). These characters were artists such as Barnett Newman, Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, Michelangelo Pistloletto and many others, including Marcel Duchamp. In regards with the series dedicated to the discoverer of the ready made he also wrote: “These photos are an attempt to make visible the mental attitude of Duchamp from his own work, an attitude that has resulted in years of silence, a refusal of ‘to do’, which is a new way of doing. […] The fact that I insist on Duchamp while watching his or other things is equivalent to put the emphasis on his resignation”.

September 22, 2014