Mimmo Rotella


décollage on galvanized metal
31 7/8 x 24 inches

Mimmo Rotella was one of Italy’s most revered and important post-World War II artists. Working directly with the materials that literally surrounded him, Rotella began tearing posters from Roman walls in the 1950s, with his project leading to an entirely new fusion of found objects and collage. Rotella’s adaptation of graphic design elements removed from their original contexts allowed viewers to consider fragments of ads and signs as objects in their own right, as well as their unmistakable force as things literally torn from the street. In this later work, Rotella has torn layered ads that use various fonts and graphic layouts, obscuring the actual product and frustrating the desire-and-purchase equation. Layers of torn edges stack up on a field of galvanized metal, creating an archeological border that allows us to look back in time at advertisements from the past. Like his rough contemporaries Warhol in New York and Wallace Berman in Los Angeles, Mimmo Rotella mined the storehouse of popular imagery, reflecting back a newly aggressive consumer society in profound and trenchant ways.