Putti’s Pudding at Studio Voltaire
12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Saturday, September 9, 2017 - Sunday, November 12, 2017
‘Putti’s Pudding’ is a book and ‘final project’ by American writer and actor Cookie Mueller, and her husband, Italian artist Vittorio Scarpati. Published in 1989, the same year both died from complications related to AIDS, it pairs drawings by Scarpati with writing by Mueller.
Reimagined as an exhibition, Putti’s Pudding features forty–five original felt–tip pen on notepad drawings made by Scarpati when he lost the ability to speak, accompanying texts by Mueller, and a public programme of talks, readings, screenings and performance.
By the summer of 1989, Vittorio Scarpati was in the final months of his life. As Mueller explains in the introduction to ‘Putti’s Pudding’:
“As I write this, his life more or less hangs in the balance, both his lungs are collapsed, a complication of bouts with the pneumonia specific to AIDS. He’s attached by tubes to two machines called pneumothorax suction pumps. A tube the circumference of an American nickel coin is affixed into a chest incision that goes into the pleural lining of his lungs. Bubbling with water like tropical fish aquariums, these strange looking clear plastic machines drain the excessive fluid from his lungs while also inflating them, thus keeping him breathing. Out of sheer boredom with time passing, Vittorio asked for pens and pads to draw. With his indomitable spirit and vitality he set about rendering his reality though his talent.”
The resulting works tell a moving story, depicting the brutal, uncertain, ghostly nature of living with AIDS in the 1980s. However, Scarpati’s drawings also radiate life. Something accounted for, and indeed celebrated, in Mueller’s accompanying writing.
This will be the first display of Scarpati’s drawings since their inclusion in Nan Goldin’s Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing at Artists Space, New York, (1989), and the first time they have been shown outside of the US. Importantly, the exhibition introduces Scarpati, a still largely unrecognised figure, to international audiences and contributes to the ongoing project of bringing recognition to Mueller’s life and work.
This exhibition is curated by Paul Pieroni in partnership with Studio Voltaire.
This event is free but due to high demand, booking is recommended.
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