Mimmo Rotella, Catanzaro 1918 - 2006 Milan
A restless innovator, Mimmo Rotella embraced a highly experimental artistic practice which placed him at the forefront of Italian Pop art. Born in Catanzaro, Rotella studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Naples before moving to Rome in 1945. Following a residency at Kansas City University in 1951–52, Rotella returned to Rome, where he became part of a circle of artists known as the Piazza del Popolo. The group enthusiastically explored the aesthetics and ideas of American Pop art, whose emphasis on mass-produced objects and the newly-iconic imagery of popular culture aligned perfectly with the economic boom of the Italian postwar moment, and the glamorous dolce vita of modern Rome. Rotella quickly abandoned painting for a new experimental practice, producing his first décollages by gluing to canvas strips and fragments of advertising posters ripped from the city walls. Upon the invitation of the art critic Pierre Restany, Rotella joined the Noveau Réalisme movement in 1961, moving to Paris three years later. While in the French capital he developed a new process called “Mec-Art” whereby negative images were projected onto an emulsion-covered canvas. In his subsequent Artypo and Plastiforme series, the artist glued typographic proofs onto canvas and then ripped posters to a polyurethane support. In Milan in the 1980s, Rotella created his blanks, covering the ripped posters with sheets of paper, and later his Sovrapitture, painting on top of the advertisements.
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