July 9 – October 16, 2016
Palazzo Blu – Pisa, Italy
You still have time to catch the exhibition at Palazzo Blu (Pisa) featuring incredibly detailed illustrations and books by Roberto Innocenti, illustration artist and member of the SACI Artists & Designers Council.
The Art of Inventing Books at the Fondazione Palazzo Blu, curated by Giorgio Bacci, is one of the largest exhibitions dedicated to Roberto Innocenti, presenting 100 original plates of one of the world’s most famous illustrators. Innocenti’s award-winning books have been translated into many languages, (English, German, French, Japanese, etc.), reaching a wide and varied audience. The illustrator is the only Italian artist to have received the so-called ‘Nobel of illustration,’ the Hans Christian Andersen Award, in 2008. Innocenti’s relationship with contemporary society is expressed in his pledge for constant social commitment.
It is no coincidence that he obtained international success with a book like Rose Blanche – where the tragedy of deportation and war is relived through the eyes of a child, in a small town on the Polish border. This work was first published in Switzerland in 1985 and was immediately awarded the Gustav Heinemann Prize for Peace and Das Rote Tuch. It is, however, not the only circumstance in which Innocenti deals with the Shoah; he also addresses the theme in the dense and sadly spectacular Erika’s Story, which traces the incredible tale of a new-born girl who miraculously survived thanks to the extreme action of her parents who throw her off a moving train on its way to a concentration camp, hoping that someone will save the little girl.
The origianl drawings of these two volumes, addressing the issue of historical memory, open the exhibition together with the plates taken from The House, which combines the theme of historical memory with that of the contemporary ‘non-place.’ The book tells the story of a farmhouse in the Tuscan countryside through the twentieth century (from its first restoration to its transformation into a residential villa).
The common thread of the ‘non-place’ accompanies the visitor in the second room, where The Girl in Red, The Last Resort, and Cinderella are presented. In the first book, Innocenti recounts the adventures of a modern Little Red Riding Hood struggling with the pitfalls of contemporary society, including blinding advertising and flashing signs, reminiscent in some ways of American Pop art. In the latter, the visitor shares a particular space, the artist’s inventive memory itself, meeting some of the most famous authors and literary characters in a mysterious inn by the sea: Cosimo (the protagonist of the Baron in the Trees), Jules Maigret, Captain Ahab, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza among others.
Finally, Cinderella offers another retelling of the classic fairy tale. Innocenti set the story in England during the 1920s and 30s, with the Prince suggestive of Edward VIII, apparently alluding to the story of Wallis Simpson.
Pinocchio and A Christmas Carol close the exhibition in the 3rd room. In the A Christmas Carol, Innocenti essentially re-reads Dickens through paintings that evoke the lesson of a great painter like Hogarth, while in Pinocchio, the illustrator, in keeping with the spirit of Collodi’s materpiece, places the adventures of the famous puppet in a wonderful 19th-century Tuscan countryside.
Text accompanying the exhibition: G. Bacci, Roberto Innocenti. The Art of Inventing Books, Pisa, Istos Edizioni, 2016.
Via Lungarno Gambacorti 9, Pisa
Tuesday – Friday 10am-7pm
Saturday & Sunday 10am-8pm