Mimmo Rotella

La rivincita, 1967
Photo emulsion on canvas
82.7 x 85 cm
32 1/2 x 33 1/2 in

€ 80,000.00


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 canvas La Rivincita (1967) is a photographic reproduction of a 1966 advertisement poster for American Western film Duel at Diablo. The image source is reproduced multiple times onto the canvas in various positions and colours. Starring actor Sidney Poitier, the film Duel at Diablo stood out amongst the Western productions of the ’60s, as it was only the second Western movie featuring a black actor in a leading role. Furthermore, Poitier’s character arc is explored beyond his race, an unusually progressive statement at a time when the Civil Rights Movement fought for the rights of African-Americans in the United States. Rotella’s choice to appropriate this specific poster certainly seems to reflect this circumstance, as his usual focus on Western films is directed towards the sub-genre of Italian Spaghetti Westerns.