ArtistUgo Mulas

About the Artist

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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.

Selected Exhibitions

  • Ties|Legami. Pietro Consagra and Ugo Mulas, Italian Cultural Institute, London, and ARTUNER.com, 2017
  • XII Triennale di Milano, Palazzo dell’Arte, La Triennale, Milano, 1960
  • New York: The New Art Scene, Galleria Il Diaframma, Milano, 1967
  • Marcel Duchamp, Galleria Multicenter, Milano, 1972
  • Le Verifiche e la storia delle Biennali, Magazzini del Sale alle Zattere, Venezia, 1974
  • Ugo Mulas, Alexander Calder a Saché e a Roxbury 1961-1965, Galleria dell’Immagine, Palazzo Gambalunga, Rimini, 1982
  • Ugo Mulas Photographs New York Art Scene ’60s, M. Gallery, Tokyo, 1986
  • Ugo Mulas fotografa Andy Warhol, Galleria Gottardo, Lugano, 1990
  • Ugo Mulas. La mémoire de l’art 1960-1970, Galerie Photo-FNAC, Parigi, 1993
  • David Smith in Italy. Fotografie di Ugo Mulas, Fondazione Prada, Milano, 1995
  • Lucio Fontana, Marcel Duchamp, Studio Casoli, Rom, 1999
  • Ezra Pound e i poeti di Ugo Mulas, Associazione tempo reale, Merano, 1999
  • Ugo Mulas. Sequences 1964-1965, Leo Castelli Gallery, 2000
  • Ugo Mulas a New York. Pop Art 1964-1965, Fnac Verona, Fnac, Milano, Fnac Genova, 2002
  • Alexander Calder nelle fotografie di Ugo Mulas, a cura di Pier Giovanni Castagnoli, in Calder a cura di Alexander C. Rower, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Roma, 2009