” From Futurist painting and sculpture (..) he moved unto unto all forms of visual arts conceivable. I can tell him that it is still (as Prampolini was) a “true futurist” and his inventions are numerous and manifest in all his talent … “
Born in 1907 in Milan, from 1926 Munari came into contact with members of the Futurist movement and he started to exhibit his works in the collective shows of the Futurist group in Italy and Europe.
In the 30s he started to produce the Aerial Machine and began to his design Useless Machines. He participated in 1930 at the 17th Venice Biennale and in the 1932 at the 18th Biennale.
In 1934 he exhibited his first Useless Machines in Futurist exhibitions, attracting the attention of Depero and Marinetti, he participated at the 19th Venice Biennale and 2 years later at the 20th Biennale.
In 1940 he organized his exhibition of Metaphysical Objects at Milan’s Galleria del Milione, where the poet Salvatore Quasimodo, who will later win the Nobel Prize for Literature, also presents His work.
In 1946, in occasion of the first Paris Salon des Nouvelles Réalités, an exhibition focusing on concrete art, Munari exhibited the environmental piece Concave-convex and one year later he participated in the exhibition Abstract and Concrete Art in Milan, the first international show to be organized in Europe since the end of the war. In 1948 he took part to the foundation of the Concrete Art Movement (MAC) with Gianni Monnet, Dorfles and Atanasio Soldati and in these years he began the series of paintings entitled Negative-positives, where the distinction between foreground and background is annulled, creating a sense of perceptual instability. Continuing His Work with MAC, Munari produced during the fifties his Light Projections by employing
transparencies, and in 1953 he began to employ a polaroid filter to produce Projections of Polarised light. In 1954 he won the first Compasso d’Oro
(Golden Compass Award) for Zizì the Monkey, a flexible toy made in expanded
In 1961 he participated in group shows of kinetic art, organized by Pontus Hulten at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, at the the Moderna Museet, Stockholm and the Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek. The year later, he organized the Programmed Art exhibition at the Olivetti showroom in Milan and in the 1964 Munari became the first artist to experiment with the creative possibilities of xerox machines, producing unique artworks entitled Original Xerographs. In 1965 he designed 5 Fountain of Water Drops for Tokyo and in 1966 he was invited at the Venice Biennale.
In 1967 he holds a series of lectures in visual communication at Harvard University, Cambridge (USA) and published the book illegible NY 1 for MoMA New York. In 1986 he had an anthological exhibition at the Palazzo Reale in Milan and in 1988 an anthological exhibition at the Museum of Jerusalem and the University of Genoa, where Munari is conferred with an honorary degree in Architecture. In 1995 he had a great exhibition at the Museum für Gestaltung, Zurich and in 1997 the exhibition Installations at the Museum of Modern Art in Klenova (Czech Republic). Munari died in 1998.
Designer, sculptor and writer Italian, he is considered one of the greatest protagonists of art, design and graphics of the 20th century. He has maintained its imaginative creativity in support of the investigation, through constructive, tactile and visual experiments, together with his great ability to communicate through words, objects, toys. Initially close to Futurism, he gradually dedicated its research to the deepening of shapes and colors and to the aesthetic autonomy of objects.
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