During 1990 Rotella experimented with the three-dimensionality with the “sculptures-architectures”, in which the artist combined and folded the metal sheets to which the posters were applied. In addition to creating a series of works for the Caffè Florian in Venice, he participated in the group exhibition High and Low at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. On this occasion he met some old friends such as Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein and James Rosenquist. The exhibition activity didn’t stop.
In March 1992, the Academy of Fine Arts of Catanzaro awarded him with an honorary degree and in July he received the title of “Officier des Arts et des Lettres” from the French Ministry of Culture. After a trip to Canada and the United States, in May 1993, he went to Dijon for an artist’s residency at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts, during which, in addition to giving lectures, he worked on large scale sovrapitture on metal sheet, were exhibited at the Espace FRAC of the French city. On September 5, his daughter Aghnessa was born.
In the following years he played a leading role of several solo and group exhibitions in Ferrara, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Köln, Milan, Rende and Rimini. In February of 1998 he was given a major retrospective at the Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart and the following year, the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain in Nice organized another monograph on the artist’s career, parallel to the one that the Complesso Monumentale di San Giovanni in Catanzaro opened in November 1999.
On March 25, 2000, the Fondazione Mimmo Rotella was established.
In May 2001 the exhibition Mimmo Rotella. Antologica 1949–2000 opened at Palazzo Lanfranchi in Pisa, which travelled to Genoa in 2002 at the Museo d’arte contemporanea di Villa Croce. During the 49th Venice Biennale curated by Harald Szeemann, some pieces realized from the 1970s and the 1980s were shown. On that occasion Piero Mascitti was appointed Director of the Fondazione Mimmo Rotella.
In April, the President of the Italian Republic, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, gave the artist the Medaglia d’oro per le Arti Visive (Gold Medal for the Visual Arts) and the regional government of Calabria named him “Calabrian Ambassador to the World.” In addition to the publication of his new autobiography, L’ora della lucertola, Rotella began the organization of his Archive, with the collaboration of Germano Celant.
His expressive quest was ceaseless and at the beginning of the year, he embarked on a new series of works, the nuove icone —as Restany calls them— in which the artist combined the coperture technique with that of the sovrapitture.
In April 2003, Rotella went to China for the opening of his solo exhibition at the Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. A few days later, his friend and critic Pierre Restany passed away. Between 2003 and 2004 some exhibitions on his works are organized in Zagreb, Montreal, Rottweill and Genoa.
The Faculty of Architecture at the University “La Mediterranea” of Reggio Calabria awarded him an honorary doctorate in May 2004 and Mimmo Calopresti signed the documentary film L’ora della lucertola.
On the occasion of the “14th Rome Quadriennale, Fuori tema/Italian Feeling (March–May 2005), Pio Baldi, General Director for Architecture and Contemporary Art, awarded Mimmo Rotella the Gold Medal for the visual arts and architecture.
On 18 March, the Casa della Memoria (House of Memory) in Catanzaro was inaugurated: the birthplace of the artist was restored to serve as the head office of the Fondazione Mimmo Rotella and houses a corpus of important works by the artist, who died in Milan on January 8, 2006.