Décollage (to unstick) is linked to the artistic method of nouveau réalisme (new realism) artists, who created art by tearing posters from walls.
Décollage in art is the opposite of collage, as it involves creating an image by cutting, tearing, or removing pieces from an original image, as opposed to building an image from existing ones. The French term décollage translates to ‘take-off’ or ‘to become unglued’. Décollage techniques include etrécissements and the cut-up method, similar to the lacerated poster where multiple posters are layered, and the top layers are torn to reveal the ones beneath.
While the term décollage first appeared in print in the 1938 Dictionnaire Abrégé du Surréalisme, it is most commonly associated with nouveau réalisme. Artists like Raymond Hains often deliberately selected locations with numerous layers of posters, transforming décollage into an archaeological process aimed at revealing historical insights. They displayed these torn poster creations as both artistic pieces and social records. Starting in 1949, Hains began crafting art by tearing posters from the walls of Paris.