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Décollages e retro d'affiches: Milan's Palazzo Reale opens exhibition of the work of Mimmo Rotella
Mimmo Rotella, Divertitevi a dare, 1959-60, décollage su tela, cm 110x100, collezione privata.

MILAN.- From June 13, 2014, Palazzo Reale presents Mimmo Rotella. Décollages e retro d’affiches, curated by Germano Celant, staged and produced by Comune di Milano - Cultura, Palazzo Reale, Mimmo Rotella Institute and Fondazione Mimmo Rotella. As it has been conceived, it will constitute a first detailed survey of the early activity of Mimmo Rotella (Catanzaro, Italy, 1918 - Milan, Italy, 2006), a multifaceted artist famous for his invention of the décollage, an art form that he thought up in the early fifties and developed subsequently.

The exhibition - that will comprehend about 150 works - focuses on the period from 1953, the year of his first experiments with torn posters, to 1964, when Rotella took part in the XXXII Venice Biennale. A specific moment in his research that attracted worldwide attention and will be represented by important loans from public and private collections in Italy and abroad, including the Museo del Novecento in Milan, the MACRO in Rome, the Carré d’Art-Musée d’art contemporain di Nîmes, the Tate Modern in London, the MART - Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, the Galleria Nazionale d’arte moderna e contemporanea in Rome and the Musée National d’art moderne - Centre Pompidou in Paris.

In order to set this period in the historical context of Rotella and making clear the originality of his approach and the importance of the contribution he made to the development of the international language of art, the exhibition will also present crucial works by his contemporaries in Europe and America, such as Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Enrico Prampolini, Kurt Schwitters, Hannah Höch, Jean Fautrier, Alberto Burri, Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Jacques Mahé de la Villeglé, Raymond Hains, Andy Warhol and Michelangelo Pistoletto.

The exhibition will set out to analyze some of the fundamental moments of his early career. In Rome, the city to which the artist moved immediately after his return to Italy from his residence at Kansas City University in 1952, Rotella established a dialogue both with the previous generation and with his contemporaries. The artist decided to make use of a symbol of the new urban context: the advertising poster.

His experimentation led him to remodel the poster in every way possible: as a starting point for the study of the material aspect on which he embarked in contact with the raw canvas, as an elementary particle for the construction of an abstract imagery and as an investigation of form that was carried out on the back of the poster, through the action of glue and rust.

Following the course of Rotella’s career, the exhibition will single out and present works created just before the beginning of the sixties, the time when the artist established his first relations with France - through the Nouveau Réalisme movement and Pierre Restany - and the United States, where already in 1961 he took part in The Art of Assemblage at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, a major and all-embracing exhibition on the theme of the collage and assemblage. Increasingly moving between Rome and Paris, Rotella had the opportunity first to work in close contact with pop artists and then to broaden his horizons to the rest of the American context, an experience that would culminate in 1962 in his solo exhibition at the Galleria Bonino in Buenos Aires and his participation in New Realists, a show on the new tendencies in object art held at Sidney Janis’s gallery in New York.

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