Fornasetti - “Tema e Variazioni the first series 1–100” 18.5.-17.7.2017

Gallery praguekabinet presents a unique project of Fornasetti iconic brand: 

a limited edition book entirely handmade which contains the first 100 illustrations from the series “Tema e Variazioni” (Theme and Variations) designed by Piero Fornasetti, with texts by Barnaba Fornasetti, Gio Ponti, Alberto Manguel and Glenn O'Brien.

Starting out as a printer, Piero worked on numerous books in a variety of forms, some as an artistic exercise, others printed with his friend, the publisher Vanni Scheiwiller, with whom in 1964 he created what might be considered the forerunner of this volume, in miniature. 

In order to revive and restore the value and depth of such an important, incredible chapter of its history, Fornasetti decided to cooperate with experts who represent the epitome of Italian craftsmanship, in perfect harmony with its identity.

The result is a unique volume, not just a catalogue but a valuable object where you can lose yourself and go through history. The original brass matrices, engraved using the vintage technique of etching, become a component of the cover, giving each book a different appearance. The handmade limited edition book, consisting of 100 illustrations printed on cotton paper using a hand press, is handbound and accompanied by text in monotype typography. The classic etching process was “corrupted” and rewritten through a combination of manual and digital processing. The brass plates were masked before engraving in order to restore the full graphic detail and depth of black lines that distinguish Fornasetti. The chalcographic printing technique is as described in Diderot’s Encyclopédie, using presses and methods that have remained unchanged ever since.

The same discerning approach ensures that every detail of the book is the result of a painstaking quest for excellence, right down to the fine thread used in the binding. Known as “long stitch binding”, with white and red linen thread, it is derived from a method used since the 5th century A.D. to bind archive documents and volumes with paper or parchment covers. Traditionally done with just two lines of stitches on the spine, it was slightly altered on this occasion. The knots of the threads have been deliberately left visible: the structure is on display, transforming it into a graphic feature that flaunts technique and dexterity.

The corpus of 100 copies becomes in itself an expression of perfect balance between art and artisanship, just as the genius of Fornasetti is a balance between the world of dreams and the substance of objects.