The first volume of the Catalogue raisonné of the works of Mimmo Rotella (Catanzaro, 1918 – Milan, 2006) 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 Guglielmo.
A scientific analysis and assessment is underway on the works executed during 1944–1961 –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 Catalogue highlights 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, and this 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 more figurative and iconic, in line with the pop trend that was taking hold internationally; 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, starting in the early 1950s and through the practice of décollage and retro d’affiche, Rotella investigated into 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.
Germano Celant is internationally recognized for his theories on Arte Povera. Additionally, he is the author of more than one hundred publications, including books and catalogues. He is also the curator of hundreds of exhibitions in the most prominent international museums and institutions worldwide. Since 1977 he has been a contributing editor to Artforum, New York; in 1987, he received The Frank Jewett Mather Award; from 1989 to 2008 he acted as the Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; since 1991 he has been contributing editor to Interview, New York; from 1995 to 2014 he was the director of Fondazione Prada, Milan; in 1997, he was appointed Curator of the 47. Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte. La Biennale di Venezia; in 2004, he was Artistic Supervisor for “Genova 2004, European Capital of Culture”; since 2005 he has been the director of Fondazione Aldo Rossi, Milan, and since 2008 the curator of Fondazione Annabianca e Emilio Vedova, Venice; in 2015 he was appointed Artistic and Scientific Superintendent of the new Fondazione Prada, Milan. In 2013, he was given The Agnes Gund Curatorial Award from Independent Curators International, New York.