Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Travel Sculpture by Bruno Munari: Movimento Arte Concreta

Bruno Munari, about whom there is a very interesting article here relating to a 2002 exhibition at the Milan Dobeš Museum, was one of the four founders of MAC, the Movimento Arte Concreta, an Italian abstract art movement that flourished from 1948-1958. Born in Milan in 1907, Munari enjoyed a long career of restless creativity. In the late 1920s and the 1930s Bruno Munari was a member of Marinetti's Futurist movement, from which he disassociated himself after WWII, because of Futurism's links with fascism. Bruno Munari was a pioneer of installation art, mobile and kinetic art, photocopy art and all kinds of inventive creations such as his useless machines and unreadable books. Among his most charming creations are his "sculture da viaggio" - portable sculptures cut out of card that can be folded for travel. One of these was included in the final publication of MAC/Espace, the 1958 volume of Documenti d'arte d'oggi. Beautifully simple, and simply beautiful.

Bruno Munari
Scultura da viaggio, 1958

The two silkscreens below reflect one of Munari's most consistent concerns, the arrangement of planes of colour in a square format. He created the first of these Negativi-Positivi for the cover of Art d'Aujourd'hui in 1952. In 1945 the New York publication the Magazine of Art wrote of Munari's Negativi-Positivi, "his interest lies further in the advance and recession of planes, and in the possibilities for double-focus - that is, planes that seen to shift their position according to the juxtaposition."

Bruno Munari, Negativo/Positivo
Silkscreen, 1955

Bruno Munari, Negativo-Positivo
Silkscreen, 1956-57
(sorry about the wonky photo!)

MAC was dissolved in 1958, after the death of co-founder Gianni Monnet. Bruno Munari lived another 40 years, during which he continued to make art with ceaseless invention, and also forged a career as the creator of highly-innovative picture books for children, which encouraged kinaesthetic learning. Bruno Munari died in Milan in 1998.

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