Mimmo Rotella

Il traffico, 1965
Photo emulsion on canvas
93.5 x 124.6 cm
36 3/4 x 49 1/8 in
Signed on the upper right on recto: “Rotella”

€ 170,000.00


Il traffico, 1965 is an example of the use of photographic reproduction on canvas within Mimmo Rotella’s practice, a technique which he begun working with in 1963 in a quest for mechanical painting and that can be considered a natural progression – or rather, reversal, of his creative, layering processes of décollage. He still uses advertising 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 photo emulsion Il traffico, 1965 seemingly portrays marketing imagery for Fiat’s 1500 L, also referred to as the Fiat 1500 Taxi automobile model. Replacing the Fiat 1400 and 1200, this family car came into production in Italy between 1961 and 1967. Whilst nearly identical to earlier models, it featured a faster motor engine offering Italian families both luxury and speed. Rotella’s abstraction of the image source resulted in blue-tinted highlights and deep black shadows. The overexposed light reflections created bold strokes of light that follow the direction of the car. Two men sitting in the front seats are visible as the vehicle drives into the night.