Mimmo Rotella

Arabesque, 1965
Photo emulsion on canvas
51.3 x 44 cm
20 1/4 x 17 3/8 in

€ 70,000.00


In 1963, Mimmo Rotella begun developing a new technique – the photo emulsion – in a quest for mechanical painting, which can be considered a natural progression – or rather, reversal, of his creative, layering processes of décollage. He still uses posters and proofs in these works, which become even more objective in forming the artist’s iconography of the present. The procedure, which he calls reportage, involves choosing images, photographing them, projecting the blown-up negatives onto a canvas chemically treated with photographic emulsion to fix the image and when required, colouring. Reportage doesn’t just refer to the technique – namely, the multi-stage transferral of images from one medium to another – it comments on the content of the works, bringing to the fore the artist’s interest in exploring communication and media. The deriving photo emulsions are indeed recordings of contemporary events and their media dissemination, at once communicating and commemorating the images they capture. They play between temporal dimensions; speaking of something contemporary to the making of the work, of the reality of a document appropriated by the artist and through whose gesture is already blurring into memory.

The world of cinema – and especially the movies directed by Federico Fellini alongside Hollywood classics and their divas – are subject of several of Rotella’s photo emulsions.
The small canvas Arabesque, 1965 displays a reproduction of the film poster for American comedy thriller Arabesque, directed by Stanley Donen. Rotella’s black and white appropriation centres around a typical abstract pattern of the 1960s, represented in colour in the original French poster. Featuring the two iconic actors of the time Sophia Loren and Gregory Peck, the psychedelic design draws in the viewer with a distorted one-point perspective.