Ugo Mulas was born in Pozzolengo, Italy, in 1928. In 1948, he moved to Milan to become a lawyer but left the law to take up classes at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts. During his time in art school, Mulas frequented the Giamaica Bar in via Brera, a meeting place for the brightest minds of Milan’s artistic and intellectual community. It was there that he became interested in photography and began to teach himself to capture images, pointing a dynamic and critical lens at post-war Italian society.
Along with his friend, photojournalist Mario Dondero, Mulas was asked to photograph the 1954 Venice Biennale, a tradition that he continued until 1972, the year Pietro Consagra presented Trama in the Italian Pavilion, photographs of which are included in Ties|Legami. Throughout those years, he travelled extensively around Europe and to New York, forming strong friendships with other prominent creatives including Alexander Calder, Lucio Fontana, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Barnett Newman, Andy Warhol, and Giorgio Strehler.
Mulas’ collaboration with Strehler prompted an experimentation with stage photography as a medium used to explore Brecht’s notion of alienation. The later years of his life were consumed by his work in the theatre, where he contributed to multiple notable productions at both the Piccola Scala in Milan and Teatro Comunale in Bologna. In 1970, Mulas began his final series of photographs, the aptly-named ‘La Verifiche’, but quickly fell seriously ill, eventually passing away in Milan in March 1973. His legacy, however, continues to live on in his work; his images are candid snapshots of the truly visionary partnerships he nurtured throughout his career.