Pictures at an Exhibition

Cookie Mueller and Vittorio Scarpati at Studio Voltaire, London

Installation view of “Putti’s Pudding: Cookie Mueller and Vittorio Scarpati,” 2017, at Studio Voltaire, London.


Pictures at an Exhibition presents images of one notable show every weekday.

Today’s show: “Putti’s Pudding: Cookie Mueller and Vittorio Scarpati” is on view at Studio Voltaire in London through Sunday, November 12. The exhibition presents work from the collaborative project Putti’s Pudding, a book by writer and actor Cookie Mueller and artist Vittorio Scarpati that was produced before they both died from AIDS-related complications in 1989. (Mueller and Scarpati were married up until their deaths.) Scarpati created drawings for the book, some of which are currently displayed in London, while Mueller contributed accompanying text.

Below is an excerpt from Mueller’s introduction to Putti’s Pudding, in which she discusses her final months with Scarpati:

Out of sheer boredom with the time passing, Vittorio asked for pens and pads to draw. With his indomitable spirit and vitality he set about rendering his reality through his talent. With a sensitivity and wisdom few possess, and with his amazing sense of humor never failing him, he put himself through his art.

Even the doctors were incredulous at this man’s strength of will. They told me that most other patients in similar circumstances would have given up after two months.

Through these drawings he has conveyed all of this and made it manifest. Seen chronologically this is a journey of extreme pain made bearable by his sublime imagination. It’s the story of a trip along the paths of Vittorio’s fantasies and for a man who hasn’t felt the warmth of sunlight or the sweet breezes of fresh air for four months, there’s a lot to create in the inward eye. From limitations come finally an emancipation, a disengagement with restraints. From the realization of the depths of his plight, comes a reach toward a pinnacle of inspiration.

Here is the work of not only a brave and courageous man but the true mytho-poet, the rhapsodist, the utopian.

There is nowhere to go but up.

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