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Mimmo Rotella

Artist Biography

Domenico ‘Mimmo’ Rotella was born in Catanzaro, Italy in 1918. Though best known for his pioneering approach to 'Decollage', the artist was also a poet and scholar of note.

Rotella studied art at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Naples, and moved to Rome in 1945. He held his first solo exhibition in 1951 at the Galleria Chiurazzi in Rome and in the same year won a Fulbright Foundation scholarship. This meant he could to travel to the U.S, where he would study at Kansas City University and nurture his talents for both art and literature.

It was when the artist moved back to Rome in 1953 that he produced his first 'Decollages'. Rotella began to assemble parts of advertisements that he had ripped down from city walls and collage them onto canvas. With the first few canvasses Rotella experimented with the notion of abstraction though as the end of the 1950s approached, he devoted himself to more figurative Decollages and created the 'Cinecitta' series, using iconic figures and faces from film posters. Marilyn Monroe became an early subject and her image would have a significant impact on later works with the series ‘Ommagio a Marilyn’, translated as ‘Homage to Marilyn’.

Rotella’s visionary approach and pioneering techniques led to exhibitions throughout the world. These included such esteemed international institutions as the ICA London in 1957, the Centre Pompidou of Paris, The Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1990, and at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1994.

The Foundation Mimmo Rotella opened in 2000, its aim to promote Contemporary Art and to preserve the Rotella's work and legacy. The artist died in Milan in 2006 aged 88.