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19/11/2021 | ARTS, EVENTS

SALONE DELLA CULTURA: BOOKS, FIRST

Posted by: Silvia Zanni

I know a lot of things but I cannot speak, I pass from hand to hand, this weekend is totally mine. Who am I? What a riddle! We are referring to the book, of course. The Salone della Cultura kicks off on November 20th at Superstudio Maxi, with the participation of 220 exhibitors, independent bookstores and antique dealers from ten different countries. Variety is the keyword: ancient books along with modern and second-hand ones with the aim of restoring the image of the publishing sector. What follows are the innovations of this edition: six thematic exhibitions and the collaboration with BookCity.

«The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries» said René Descartes: the conversation changes, the actors alternate, but the idea is always the same, the need to know. The new combination Salone-BookCity expresses the need to know through book lovers and writers. Then, there are the collectors. The initiative of the Associazione Internazionale di Bibliofilia boosts the passion for book collecting among the young: during the Salone the biennial Aldus Club prize will be awarded together with special mentions to young people who, with their collections, contribute to "promoting feelings of love and respect for the noblest product of human intelligence: the book".
A huge library – almost a totem pole – divides the space: there are over 300,000 titles by medium-large independent publishers who could not have their own stands, yet they still want to participate in this edition. The sheer variety of volumes animates the shelves of this book monument, from antique books to the most modern ones.
The real success of this edition was, however, to offer the visitor a selection of six small thematic exhibitions. A common thread runs through the artworks, linking them together, forever creating a new kind of dialogue and relationships, original glimpses and representations.
Vinyl Warhol. This exhibition is about Andy Warhol LPs’ covers. On show exceptional pieces, such as the covers of the most iconic albums in music history – Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones with the provocative zip; the Velvet Underground’s "banana album" with a banana ready to be peeled. The real novelty of this exhibition, a Madrigal's magic key to spanish, unpublished cover that should perhaps have been part of a musical project on the theme "Learning Spanish", which never happened.
The Libreria Antiquaria Pontremoli exhibits forty editions out of the thirteen writings by Ignazio Silone in the exhibition Ignazio Silone: the mystery of the original editions. Among these, viewers will find rare covers, such as the ones designed by the German designer Max Bill for Silone's most-known book, Fontamara.
The exhibition on the series of Bompiani Satellites by Bruno Munari is very intriguing. Munari's imagination led him to create a unique series of 45 volumes: "the planet is a large black circle that contains the title dug in white around which dark dots rotate, the so-called satellites, whose number will increase on the cover as the publications progress". Circles, ancient forms in history, as well as obsessions from Munari's creative life, tell the viewer about the genesis of the collection as if it had an expiry date.
War rugs – the carpets of the Afghan wars: the exhibition displays carpets as cultural objects but also as precious historical documents, hiding in the plot of the fabric visions and figures people have about the world. They are stories of wars in the last thirty years, fought with the latest generation of weapons, experienced as sources of "terror and astonishment" by people, and translated into images according to the ways of their culture.
The Italian Red Cross displays the humanitarian commitment carried out from the Great War until Covid-19. Original photographs, memorabilia, diaries enrich the storytelling. The life-size model of a first-aid station recreates hospitals employed in 1915-1918 battlefields.
On the eve of the fifty years since his death, an exhibition is dedicated to Dino Buzzati, Dino Buzzati. The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily, recounting Buzzati’s commitment to painting, besides writing.«In the display cabinets intended to host Buzzati’s works, his book production unfolds chronologically, starting from 1940 The Desert of the Tartars (exhibited here in its double first edition, made of paperback and canvas) up to the last works in which text and images blur. Yet, the common thread of Buzzati’s production is the word, very often transforming the rite of book dedication into a creative opportunity that has at length left unpublished amazing micro-stories» explains the exhibition curator, Marco Perale.
In Buzzati's production the art discourse links to the writing one and ends with Fortunato Depero, within the exhibition Fortunato Depero, The unpublished manuscript. The protagonist of this exhibition is the complete body of work Il pubblico e l'artista, an unpublished manuscript – just published by Luni Editrice, the main sponsor of the event – which, by exploiting the plot device of three "haughty and laid-back ladies", reveals Depero's vision as the protagonist – among the makers – of the art of the Twentieth century.

Andy Warhol, Banana Album, 1967, courtesy Salone della Cultura
Lo studio dell'uomo's cover for Bompiani's series "I Satelliti di Bompiani", graphic design by Bruno Munari, courtesy Salone della Cultura
Illustration of The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily by Dino Buzzati, courtesy Salone della Cultura
Fortunato Depero, futurist fan, courtesy Salone della Cultura

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