Mimmo Rotella was born in Catanzaro on 7 October 1918. The son of a milliner, after middle school he moved to Naples where he began his artistic studies. In 1941 he spent a short time in Rome, in 1944 he graduated from the Art School of Naples.
From 1944 to 1945 he teaches drawing at the institute for surveyors in his city. 1945 is in Rome and after the figurative beginnings and the first experiments, he elaborates a way of pictorial expression of neo-geometric matrix.
Participation in exhibitions starts in 1947 both in Rome and in Turin. In 1949 as an alternative expressive method, he invented phonetic poetry, called by the same "epistaltic". In the same year he wrote "Il Manifesto" published by Leonardo Sinisgalli in "Civilization of Machines". In 1955 the first personal exhibition. In 1951 he had his first contact with French artists, exhibiting in Paris at the Salon des Realistes Nouvelles. Between 1951 and 1952 he was awarded a scholarship by the Fullbright Foundation, thanks to which he could travel to the United States.
Also in 1952 he made his second personal exhibition at the Rockhill Nelson Gallery in Kansas City. In the United States, however, he has the opportunity to meet the representatives of the new artistic trends.
Returning to Rome in 1953, he suddenly has what he himself calls "Zen illumination": the discovery of the advertising poster as an artistic expression as a message of the city. Thus the decollage is born. In 1995 in Rome he exhibited for the first time "the torn poster".
Practice the "double decollage", in those years it also uses the backs of affiche.
The awards reached him in 1956 with the Premio Graziano and in 1957 with the Battistoni and Public Education Award.
With the "Cinecitta" series of 1958 he chose the faces of the cinema posters. In 1960 he joined the Nouveau Realisme, in 1961 he exhibited in the historic exhibition "A 40 ° au-dessus de Dada" curated in Paris by Restany. In 1964 he was invited to the Venice International Art Biennale.
He moved to Paris where he began to develop a serial production process on emulsified canvas. This operation will be defined by the artist Mec-Art in 1965 together with the art critic Otto Hanh, and the exhibition at the J. Di Parigi gallery in the same year.
In 1972 he published a bold autobiography entitled "Autorotella". The same year records the first L.P.
In 1980, having left Paris and settled in Milan, he elaborated the "blanks" or affiches covers. In 1984 he resumed his brushes and colors. In 1986 he was in Cuba to exhibit his work at the University of Havana, and on that occasion he performed in a performance on the laceration in the center of the square.
In 1990 he was present at the Center Pompidou in Paris in the exhibition "Art et Pub" and at the Museum of Modern Art of N.Y. In 1991 he married the young Russian economist Inna Agarounova who in 1993 brought Asia to light. In 1992 he received from the French Culture Minister, Jack Lang, the title of "Officiel des arts et des lettres".
He was invited to the N. Guggenheim Museum in 1994 and 1996 to the Museum of Contemporary Art of Los Angeles.