Edited by Germano Celant
The first volume of the Catalogue raisonné of the works of Mimmo Rotella (b. 1918, Catanzaro; d. 2006, Milan) is part of a more extensive systematic cataloguing project of the artist's body of work by Germano Celant.
The publication is being developed in partnership with the Mimmo Rotella Institute—established by Inna and Aghnessa Rotella in 2012 and directed by Antonella Soldaini—and the Mimmo Rotella Foundation, headed by Rocco Gugliemo.
A scientific analysis and assessment is underway on the works executed during 1944–61—that is, from the artist's experimental research phase: first through figurative painting, then through geometric abstraction—to his invention of the décollage and retro d'affiche techniques. Unfolding in chronological order, the Cataloguehighlights the various stages of development of the artist's language, enabling a broader interpretation of the works executed in the period. Rotella started making use of wall posters in Rome in the early 1950s, which soon became his hallmark. Thus the artist developed two parallel techniques: with the recto of the affiches, he created décollages, which were initially similar to an informal style typical of the contemporary investigations of Alberto Burri and Lucio Fontana and then grew more figurative and iconic, in line with the pop trend that was taking hold internationally; then, with the verso of the posters, covered in wall matter and marked by mold, scratches, and traces of lime and plaster, his "retro d'affiches" took shape.
By adopting posters in the early 1950s, and through the practice of décollage and retro d'affiche, Rotella investigated the independent functioning of art as a means to define a process of depersonalization in the attempt to create a space "beyond," enabling the objectification of real space. In the abolishing of all hierarchies between subjects, Rotella's narrative in the period analyzed proves compelling and spectacular, encompassing icons from worlds as far apart as those of advertising and films.
Book specifications Dual-language edition (Italian/English)
Volume one, 24 x 28 cm, 624 pages
1100 color images and 400 b/w hardcover with slipcase
*Mimmo Rotella, Europa di notte (Europe by night), 1961. Décollage on canvas, 180.5 x 108 x 3.5 cm. Collection of Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien. Photo: Musuem moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien. © Fondazione Mimmo Rotella.
Mimmo Rotella Institute and Fondazione Mimmo Rotella