Bulletin 2024.4

“The right moment”
Ivo Corrà remembers Ugo Carrega in words and images

Ugo Carrega nel suo studio, Milano 2010 Photo credits: Ivo Corrà

In the 1990s, Ivo Corrà, a photographer from Bolzano, met and studied under Ugo Carrega at the Brera Academy in Milan. This meeting blossomed immediately into a relationship that transcended the Academy classrooms and developed into a long-lasting friendship. To enhance the “Poetry in the Box” exhibition, currently on display at Museion Passage until 01.09.24, Corrà has opened his archives to recall some special moments from his personal memories of Carrega. These fragments of words and images evoke the figure of an artist, who is both a friend and life master, captured in his tireless and generous attitude to sharing.

We met in 1992 in Brera. I was attending Vincenzo Ferrari’s course in decoration, but as he had to leave due to another assignment, he had asked Ugo Carrega to take his place. So, Ugo met up with the fourth-year students and asked to see their work. When he saw my photographs, he was really enthusiastic about them and we hit it off immediately, at a human level too.

Left: Ugo Carrega con studenti al Bar Brera, Milano 1992. Right: Bar Brera, Milano 1992 Photo credits: Ivo Corrà

Of course, he was my teacher, but we talked a lot during the lessons as, at the end of the day, how do you explain art? You go and see what one person does and then someone else, and you look at the works of other artists, and long discussions arise. At Brera we would eat out and go to exhibition openings together, and sometimes he would invite us to his house.

Ritratto di Ugo Carrega, Milano 1992 Photo credits: Ivo Corrà

Ugo didn’t like having his photo taken. So, I had to choose the right moment when taking certain portraits.

Left: Ugo Carrega con Alain Arias-Misson, Venezia 1993. Right: Ugo Carrega con Massimo Girelli, Venezia 1993 Photo credits: Ivo Corrà

In 1993, he exhibited at the Venice Biennale, so we all went together.
He was out and about a lot, trying to build relationships and show us how the environment, the galleries and the mechanisms of the art world worked. That was his way of teaching. He got you involved in things outside the school because, let’s be honest, if you want to be an artist you don’t learn that at the Academy of Fine Arts. “Doing your homework” isn’t enough.

Ugo Carrega nello spazio espositivo “Euforia Costante” Milano 1993 Photo credits: Ivo Corrà
Spazio espositivo “Euforia Costante”, Milano 1993 Photo credits: Ivo Corrà

For a while, he opened a gallery next to the Mudima Gallery in Milan, called ‘Euforia Costante’. He asked me and a friend of mine, if we could help him with some of the work there. It was a way of helping us earn some money. He was like that…

Ugo Carrega con Ivo Corrà, Milano 2004 Photo credits: Ivo Corrà

The memory of Ugo I carry with me, is that of an elegant person, a rarefied elegance, in terms of his spirit too. He was also a man of great integrity who was faithful to his ideas. He didn’t do half-measures and he didn’t like having to accept compromises. When you are honest in a world that is not, you either become a fake or you fight. And he was a fighter. This intellectual honesty is still, one of the most important lessons he left me.

When you are in your twenties and you meet someone you respect and who is able to assess your work and make it better, it is something extremely precious that gives you a lot. He was a teacher, but above all a very dear friend. We also used to laugh a lot together….

Corrà’s reminiscences were recorded for Museion Bulletin by Caterina Longo and Mara Vicino.

The “Poetry in the box” exhibition

The exhibition, curated by Frida Carazzato, Museion scientific curator and Duccio Dogheria, curator and researcher from the Archivio del ’900 at Mart Museum in Rovereto, chronicles the twenty-year connection between Mart and Museion, as co-custodians of the extraordinary Archivio di Nuova Scrittura collection, donated to the two museums by Paolo Della Grazia in 2020 and in which Ugo Carrega plays a key role. In particular, the exhibition revolves around the concept of the box – sometimes a work of art in itself, and sometimes a container for Carrega’s works – and pays tribute to the history of the Mercato del Sale of which the artist was curator and director. Between 1974 and 1989, countless artists involved in visual poetry - many of whom appear in this exhibition - gravitated around this artist-run space in Milan.

Ivo Corrà (b. Bolzano) is a photographer who studied at the Brera Academy in Milan. He has trained as a fashion photography assistant with Franco Trinchinetti and as a photojournalist with Amedeo Vergani. His work covers a number of spheres, including reportage, portraiture and architectural and landscape photography. He has also worked in art education. He was co-founder of the education section at Museion where he was in charge of art mediation proposals from 1998 to 2018.

Bulletin 2024