Mimmo Rotella retrospective at the Gallery Tornabuoni until May 26th

Mimmo Rotella retrospective at the Gallery Tornabuoni until May 26th

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Tourists flock to Paris to indulge in its charm, style and history, but what lands do Parisians dream of during those dreary rush-hour Métro journeys? Well, for many it’s Italy. Get a true Parisian on the subject of Italy and they will talk for hours about the food, the architecture, the style and the people.

In Paris you can find Italian restaurants, ice cream and haute couture in every every quartier but what about Italian art? It’s not easy, but Gallery Tornabuoni is set to change this. Its mission is to showcase what happened after Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Donatello and of course the name on everyone’s lips at the moment, Artemisia Gentileschi, whose work is currently being shown at the Musée Maillol.

Named after the road in Florence where it was founded in 1980, Gallery Tornabuoni has since opened six galleries across Europe, including its Paris base, which was launched in 2009. Focusing on art from the second half of the 20th century, it mainly exhibits Italian artists but has also shown the work of the biggest international names in modern and contemporary art, including Picasso and Warhol.

The gallery is situated on Avenue Matignon just off the Rond Point of the Champs Elysées. This is a great road to wander along if you want to taste the lifestyle of the city’s rich and famous. The road is mainly built up of private galleries and high-end shops, hotels and restaurants. It is an avenue of crisp white shirts, statement sunglasses and ornamental pooches.

The road’s galleries often hold ‘vernissages’ or opening nights at the same time, so if you can get an invitation, you can make an evening out of viewing the freshest shows. If not, visiting the private galleries in this area provides a way of seeing internationally acclaimed artists for free and without the crowds public galleries attract.

Gallery Tornabuoni’s latest exhibition is a retrospective of the work of Mimmo Rotella. It is difficult to pin Rotella into any artistic movement as he seemed to dip into or it could be argued, inspire a few. He became known as one of four artists called ‘Les Affichistes’, affiche being the French word for poster. Many of his works started life as an Italian street poster advertising films and consumer goods. Due to the subject matter of the posters he is also attached to the Pop Art movement. In addition, he was the only Italian belonging to the French New Realists, despite not signing their manifesto. Alongside his visual art, he was also known for his avant-garde poetry. In 1949, while searching for new forms of self-expression, he invented a phonetic poetry made up of sounds and words without any sense, for which he coined the term “épistaltique language”.

Rotella started his career with classic art school training, specializing in painting but in the 50s he reached a dead-end and made the decision to focus solely on his collages which he described as ‘décollages’ due to their ripped-up, deconstructed appearance. He reached the height of his career in the 90s when he was featured in a string of international group shows at museums such as the Centre Pompidou and the MOMA in New York, establishing his role as a pillar of contemporary art before his death in 2006 at the age of 87.

All images courtesy and copyright of Gallery Tornabuoni:

Mimmo Rotella Marylin, La Magnifica Preda, décollage on cardboard, 193 x 139 cm

Mimmo Rotella Comanceros, 1963-1974, décollage, cm 192×140

Mimmo Rotella Décollage, 1959, décollage on pressed cardboard, 45 x 38 cm

 

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