After spending its first 5 years exhibiting 1960s Milanese artists - with exhibitions dedicated to Lucio Fontana, Enrico Castel- lani, Dadamaino, Turi Simeti and Paolo Scheggi - Tornabuoni Art Paris inaugurates the opening of a second path through Italian art: Roma Pop.
In the 1960s, the artistic climate in Rome is very different from Milan. The capital has a stronger dialogue with the United States and is subject to a strong influence of the language of American Pop Art. By the late 1950s, Roman Pop precursors emerged, such as Mimmo Rotella with his appropriation of street posters through a painstaking peeling; followed by Mario Ceroli, the School of Piazza del Popolo, Tano Festa, Franco Angeli and Mario Schifano.
This experiment and research on the image differs from the other Italian art scenes of the moment being the Milanese mo- nochrome, the formal expression of the Gruppo Forma and the informal expression of the Gruppo degli Otto. It appears in a crucial time in the evolution of Italian society and customs of the 20th century: between the economic boom and its typical dolce vita. In fact, this Italian language, similar to the American Pop, develops its own peculiarities defined by cultural references to the past, art and history. Mickey Mouse, Marilyn and Coca-Cola are then swapped for Mona Lisa or Michelangelo.
For example, Tano Festa focuses on the Renaissance’s masters, in particular Michelangelo, and re-populizes these images, part of Roman people’s daily life. In the same way, the Riace bronzes can be found in Mario Ceroli’s work. His aim is to honour the great classics of the history of art and the Greco-Roman civilization. Meanwhile, Mimmo Rotella retrieves images from the street to raise them to the rank of art. He uses posters, advertisements with which he for instance created in 1958 his famous Cinecittà series, inspired by the history of Italian and American cinema.
Franco Angeli focuses on American capitalism and the strategies of power, mixing ancient and modern symbols, icons and tragic memories of human horror. In this work can be found the swastika, the hammer and sickle, or the “Half Dollar” Eagle, symbol of a US currency produced in the 1960’s during the Civil War.
Roma Pop aims to explore Italian Pop culture in all its variety and originality. It will be presented in parallel to The World Goes Pop now at the Tate Modern.