Paris: Musee des Arts Decoratifs - Piero Fornasetti : La Folie Pratique Exhibition. Presented in the main nave of Les Arts Decoratifs, the exhibition Piero Fornasetti: La Follie Pratique, until June 14, is curated by Barnaba Fornasetti, Piero's son and Olivier Gabet, it is a collection of more than one thousand pieces by Fornasetti (1913-1988) retrieved from his incredible archives. The retrospective exhibition is a portrait of the creator who was a painter as well as a decorator, a printer and a publisher, a collector and a merchant. In the theatrical decorative universe of Fornasetti, the subjects are imbued with poetry and imagination they play with optical illusions, metaphysical landscapes, they are the figures drawn from the comedy of craft, the enigmatic and lunar faces are depicted in multiple variations. Piero Fornasetti paints scarves as well as furniture with his motifs, but also walls and screens, plates, trays and umbrella stands. In particular, together with the architect Gio Ponti, he imagined complete interior design and decoration solutions for private homes, ocean liners, and casinos.
Piero Fornasetti: La Follie Pratique. The screen, with its function as a mobile architectural element, is intrinsically theatrical and ideally suited for illusionist tricks. This is one of Fornasetti’s chosen objects: from the early 1950s, he studied its history and appearance in various cultural contexts and historical periods. He was fascinated by its linearity, an ideal feature for decoration and trompe-l’oeil.
“How could I tell my stories and make the objects on which I’m telling them useful at the same time? … I have designed (screens) with endless motifs, but they are mostly a way of enabling me to recount some of my dreams.”
Photograph courtesy Fornasetti
Piero Fornasetti: La Follie Pratique
Video - Piero Fornasetti: La Follie Pratique – Les Arts Decoratifs - Paris
Art historian and curator and director of the Musee des Arts Decoratifs Olivier Gabet
Karen Park Goude and Jean-Paul Goude
Piero Fornasetti: La Follie Pratique. A great reader and designer since his childhood, Piero Fornasetti defines himself as a self-educated person, one who wanted no guide, but his own. The printing press that was available in his father’s workshop allowed him to practice and experiment with all etching and printing techniques. He creates the Stamperia d’Arte Piero Fornasetti and published his drawings, his almanacs, but also the works of the greatest artists of his time: Carlo Carrà, Giorgio de Chirico, Marino Marini, Lucio Fontana. His virtuosity allowed him to work on all kinds of materials: paper, ceramic, glass, leather, textiles.
Above. Two musical instrument Trumeau cabinets – silkscreen on wood, painted by hand. Sketch of an acoustic speaker for record player – 1950s – mixed technique on paper.
Lavinia Birladeanu and Liborio Capizzi
Piero Fornasetti: La Follie Pratique. An extremely prolific artist, Piero Fornasetti, in his fascination for the object as a multiple and for «printed materials in all their forms» (Patrick Mauries), also created posters, advertising products, logos and fashion accessories which he generally conceived as serial objects. The exhibition presents the great themes of the designer’s work: his beginnings as a painter (not very well known) allow us to go back to the Italian and European artistic context of the 30’s, those of the Twentieth Century and the “Return to order” also, his activity as a printer that underlie all his work, the Tema e Variazioni series and his cooperation with Gio Ponti, his sets of trays, umbrella stands, trumeau...
Above. The Tray Room. Tray “Serpe” (snake) - mid 50’s - lithograph on metal – painted by hand.
Video - Fornasetti 100 years of practical madness – Toni Meneguzzo. Toni Meneguzzo's dreamlike voyage through the Fornasetti universe is produced by Yoox.com. "I embraced the spirit and faith typical of Fornasetti's world, which is rich in alchemical thoughts and formulas," says Meneguzzo (above), author of this "stop-motion" video, work of art. A "mantric rosary full of patience," was required to shoot the spectators in the kaleidoscopic home of Barnaba, Piero's intellectual heir.
Piero Fornasetti: La Follie Pratique. The museum is located inside the western wing of the Palais du Louvre behind the chairs the main section of the Louvre Museum can bee seen.
Above. Two Capitello chairs - mid 1950s – Moro – candle holder – 1960. Marbalia – 1960s – cubic base.
Piero Fornasetti: La Follie Pratique: Villa Varenna. A reconstruction of the living room of the family summer home in Varenna, built by his father, where Fornasetti spent many childhood vacations painting and drawing. Later the house was redecorated by the artist and filled with his images and objects, exhibiting his taste for collecting and thematic articulations.
Above. The reconstruction of the living room, with various original pieces and intentionally small variations in the same style.
Piero Fornasetti: La Follie Pratique. Pompeiana Screen - 1950’s - lithograph on wood – painted by hand. Trouser Suit designed by Barnaba Fornasetti with Lawrence Steele – 1990s – cotton.
CNBC’s anchor Tania Bryer
photograph courtesy Fornasetti
Piero Fornasetti: La Follie Pratique – Theme and Variations. The most famous work by Fornasseti remain the plates with variations of the opera singer Lina Cavalieri’s round face, of which no less than three hundred and fifty versions exist.
“Variations is not only a musical endeavor or a musical exercise, but also an intellectual tradition and virtuosity of the imagination.”
Variations on a theme is a process that characterizes much of Fornasetti’s work. His constantly variable recurring themes include suns and hands, but it is his Theme and Variations series that is the true expression of this process. Starting in 1952 he transformed Cavalieri’s face “as he wished” onto plates, glasses, paperweights and candlesticks. Like Henry Miller, who used one of these variations on the cover of one of his books, Fornasetti loved to keep these, his favorite images, in the bathroom, and hung 300 plates in the toilet of his gallery on the Via Montenapoleone in Milan.
Piero Fornasetti: La Follie Pratique. Sofa – Nigel Coates and Barnaba Fornasetti – 2014 – jacquard fabric, wood. Sardine coffee table chest – reinvention Barnaba Fornasetti – 1999 – silkscreen, silver leaf, wood, hand painted. Video - Piero Fornasetti: Tema e Variazione – produced by Michela Moro - directed by Valeria Schiavoni.
Michela Moro, Lorenzo Todeschini and Valeria Schiavoni
Karla Otto and Barnaba Fornasetti
Natasha Levy and Anne Marie Dubois Dumee Perse
Piero Fornasetti: La Follie Pratique - Self-portraits – drawings from 1941-1945 – Indian ink and pastel on paper.
Breakfast with Elle Decoration at the Piero Fornasetti: La Follie Pratique exhibition. A special breakfast viewing for the Piero Fornasetti: La Follie Pratique exhibition was organized by Elle Decoration. Coffee and tea were served in the Salon des Boiseries of the Musee des Arts Decoratifs before a guided tour.
French Elle Decoration’s special feature, in the April issue, shows the apartment of collectors Fabrizio Benintendi and Sonia Marinelli in Turin completely decorated with Fornasetti objects, furniture and memorabilia, they are featured above with the magazine’s editor in chief, Sylvie de Chiree.
Piero Fornasetti: La Follie Pratique – Tea Set and Plate – Maschere Italiene – 1950 – lithograph on porcelain, hand painting.