Artipelags big summer exhibition

By on February 17, 2019

Artipelag in 2019 attaches the spotlight to the Italian artist and designer Piero Fornasetti’s (1913–88) multifaceted works. It will be the first museum exhibition in Sweden that covers the entire Fornasetti’s productive spectrum of painting, drawing, graphic design, furniture, design objects and spatial installations, as well as contemporary works created by his son Barnaba Fornasetti. The exhibition FORNASETTI Inside Outside opens on June 14, 2019.

Perhaps Piero Fornasetti is best known as one of the international design world’s top names, but he has a versatility that includes virtually all aesthetic disciplines. His creative look seems to come from a never-ending source and he is considered one of design’s most productive people, with over 13,000 objects with his signature. This versatility is the starting point for Fornasetti’s design concept, which in many ways appears to be a philosophical reflection on how it is to be human in the 1900s.

Piero Fornasetti was born in 1913 in Milan and he was loyal to the city for most of his life. Milan’s duality, with its historic monuments combined with a modern commercial center, was an important source of inspiration in Fornasetti’s creation.

Fornasetti began his course with art studies at the Accademia di Brera in Milan in 1930, which he finished early in 1932 after dissatisfaction with the teaching. Instead, he began to study arts and crafts, but continued to paint virtually all his life. His debut took place in the borderland between painting and arts and crafts with printed silk scarves at the design exhibition Milano Triennale 1933, which attracted the architect Gio Ponti’s attention. Ponti was one of the most important cultural personalities of the time and also editor of the magazines Domus and Stile, where Fornasetti was published.

In 1940, Italy was in war and Fornasetti settled in Switzerland in 1943–1946, where he came to focus his interest in drawing, which resulted in, among other things, a brilliant suite of self-portraits.

One year after the end of the war, in 1946, Fornasetti returned to Milan where he resumed cooperation with Ponti. Together, an unforgettable number of furniture was created which was designed by Ponti and was decorated by Fornasetti. In 1949-1952, this collaboration was expanded to include entire interior design assignments for, among others, Casino San Remo and the cruise ship Andrea Doria.

After the collaboration with Ponti, Fornasetti 1950-1952 came to further develop his own image world, not only on furniture and furnishings, but also on plates, cups and a variety of other everyday items. In 1951, the first plate in the series Tema e Variazioni (Themes and Variations) was added with the opera singer Lina Cavalieri’s face in various forms, which became one of Fornasetti’s most successful motives.

He opened his own store in Milan in the 1950s with the aim of reaching out to a larger, international audience in accordance with the spirit of time to make the design more democratic. It became the basis for an international breakthrough in the 1960s.

After several brilliant decades, the company ended up in a crisis in the 1970s, which, however, would be short-lived. Postmodernism’s interest in decoration and storytelling highlighted Fornasetti as an important role model. The son of Barnaba Fornasetti in the company in 1982 was also an important event. Barnaba further developed his father’s image worlds and came to work with exhibition productions as a curator. This has resulted in a variety of Fornasetti exhibitions worldwide, including a large retrospective exhibition at Victoria & Albert in London 1991–1992. After Piero’s death in 1988, Barnaba took over the creative responsibility, a role he possesses today.

The exhibition title FORNASETTI Inside Utsida refers to the flowing creativity and rich imagination that comes from the artist’s interior, but also how he with technical skill processes his visions to portray the modern reality. This double movement is central to Fornasetti’s entire artistry.

The exhibition opens in Artipelag’s art gallery on June 14, 2019 and runs until January 26, 2020. The exhibition is a collaboration between Artipelag and Fornasetti.

Helena Olofsson, Culture & Music | Värmdö