MARCH 1, 2010

Exhibition of the work of Futurist Designer Fortunato Depero at the Italian Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C.
Posted By Susanna, Sweedish Scene, March 1, 2010

Franco SciannameoAn exhibition of the work of the Italian futurist designer Fortunato Depero (1892-1960) was presented at an event at the Italian Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C. on Friday evening, February 26. Mr. Depero is best known for his design of the 1932 Campari Soda bottle, which is still in production.

The exhibition, titled "Fortunato Depero 50," is a collection of Debero's graphic design work over the course of 35 years and includes 41 works and 10 vintage prints. It explores the techniques used by the designer in his works and his advertisements.

Fortunato Depero was born in 1892 in Fondo (Trentino). In 1913 he began to explore Futurism as an artist, and shortly after his move to Rome in 1914, through Giacomo Balla's intervention, he was officially admitted into the group of futurist painters and sculptors. On March 11, 1915, he and Balla signed the manifesto Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe.

Fortunato Depero also worked with the Swiss poet Gilbert Clavel to create Balli Plastici, or the "Plastic Dance," a show that was first performed in Rome in 1918, featuring puppets instead of live actors, giving a mechanical but joyful vision of the world. At Friday's event, that show was presented again in a "re-imagining" film directed by Franco Sciannameo of Carnegie Mellon University.

In 1928 Depero left for New York, where he worked with costumes and stage solutions for theater and ballet institutions, as well as in advertising and illustration for magazines. He was deeply changed by his New York experience, with its bright skyscrapers but also rundown suburbs. New York showed him the real face of the technological future that the Italian futurists had always dreamt of. He returned to Trentino, but after World War II he was back in New York to have another chance at the American adventure, and it brought him into contact with the surrealists and with anthropological interests, which revitalized the work of his final years.

The curator for "Fortunato Depero 50" was Italian art critic Maurizio Scudiero and Studio 53 Arte in Florence, Italy.

Pictured left: Rita Venturelli, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C., her husband Luigi Volta, and Mary Bird