Mimmo Rotella (1918-2006) is an Italian artist best known at the international level for the invention of the décollage technique in 1953. The posters torn off the city walls are assembled in the studio and lacerated a second time by hand, using the handle of a brush or a cutter. They are then attached to different media: cardboard, wood panel, Masonite, linen or jute canvas or metal plate, by applying Vinavil diluted with water. This technique was used starting from 1953, at the same time of the retro d’affiches. As with décollages, basic element for creating the retro d’affiches (‘backs of posters’) were the posters taken by the artist directly from the street. The same manipulation technique was applied to the other side of the paper (the verso), on which there often remain traces of rust, glue, flakes of paint or other deposits.
During the Sixties he focused his attention on popular images, coming closer first to Pop Art and then assuming a leading role in the Nouveau Réalisme group; in the following years he continued his experimentation in brand new techniques. Rotella used oil paint at the beginning of his career, first with a figurative intent, then moving on to abstract-geometric paintings characterized by basic colours. After a creative crisis that led him to the invention of décollage and development of different techniques in following years, from 1984 Rotella get back to the pictorial medium in a series of acrylic paintings. The return to painting sets off a renewed energy at the base of the sovrapittura technique.
Some of his masterpieces are collected in leading national and international museums, such as: MACRO, Museo di Arte Contemporanea, Rome; Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; National Gallery of Art, Washington; The Menil Collection, Houston; LACMA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tel Aviv Museum; Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires.