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Mimmo Rotella (1918-2006)
Mimmo Rotella (1918-2006)
Mimmo Rotella (1918-2006)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Mimmo Rotella (1918-2006)

Un po' lavorato

Mimmo Rotella (1918-2006)
Un po' lavorato
signed 'Rotella' (lower left); signed, titled and dated 'Rotella "Un po' lavorato" 1959' (on the reverse)
décollage on canvas
43 ¼ x 36 5/8in. (110 x 93cm.)
Executed circa 1959
P. Cascella Collection, Rome.
Galleria Primo Piano, Rome.
Private collection, Rome.
Thence by descent to the present owner.
G. Celant, Mimmo Rotella. Catalogo ragionato. Volume primo 1944-1961, Milan 2016, vol. II, no. 1959 circa 139 (illustrated, p. 665).
Special Notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
Sale Room Notice
Please note that this work is registered in Archivio Mimmo Rotella, Milan, n. 2621 DC 959/959.

Brought to you by

Barbara Guidotti
Barbara Guidotti Head of Sale, Thinking Italian, Art

Lot Essay

Executed in 1959, Un po lavorato is an arresting example of Mimmo Rotella’s celebrated collages or affiches lacerées. Comprising layered fragments of posters torn from the streets of Rome, these works capture the emergence of a new cultural heyday in post-war Italy. Amid flourishing developments in art, cinema and fashion, the city fell under the spell of the advertising industry that was sweeping the globe during this period. Billboards, flyers and signs proliferated across its ancient walls, charged with enticing imagery and slogans that accrued like layers of sediment. Struck by the rapid modernisation of the Eternal City after two years away in America, Rotella sought to capture and critique its new metropolitan rhythms, tearing, cutting and peeling fragments of paper from the streets and re-forming them into complex palimpsests in his studio. Blurring the boundary between high and low art, he was among first artists to truly embrace the aesthetic possibilities of the urban environment. In the present work, text, image and colour intertwine with poetic furore, offering a tantalising snapshot of a rapidly changing world.

Rotella first began to explore collage in 1953. Though redolent of Cubist collage, his works also shared much in common with the proto-Pop works of artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, whom he had encountered during his time in the United States. At the same time, the formal and chromatic properties of his creations echoed the all-over surfaces espoused by Jackson Pollock and other Abstract Expressionists. By 1959, Rotella’s work was beginning to achieve widespread acclaim, featuring in the first issue of Azimuth that March – the avant-garde journal founded by Enrico Castellani and Piero Manzoni – as well as attracting the attention of the influential French critic Pierre Restany, who came to visit his studio. Indeed, the following year Rotella would come to associate himself with Restany’s Nouveau Réaliste movement, which – along with artists such as Yves Klein, César and Arman – set out to establish ‘new ways of perceiving the real’. This mission simmers below the surface of the present work: through a simultaneous process of destruction and creation, Rotella captures the birth of a new material reality.

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