“Domus has been an anthology of Fornasetti”: with these words Gio Ponti writes about the inexhaustible creativity of Piero Fornasetti. Right from the 1950s, Domus published images of fabrics, furniture, screens and plates by Piero, without concealing an amused and admired pleasure in describing these original and ironic works of art.
In Domus 246 in 1950, in relation to a new collection of printed handkerchiefs the artisan work of Fornasetti is compared to that of a composer who draws inspiration for his patterns from folk art and 19th century graphics, creating a peculiar way of expressing himself that is both brilliant and playful.
Fornasetti’s art is sharply illustrated in 1956: the game of print is a dangerous game and Piero is the acrobat of composition. His objects are not only useful but provoke a sense of play and continual decomposition: the beautiful photographs of Fornasettis make you want to make Fornasettis! Below is the complete text from “eighteen Fornasettis” published in Domus 321 in 1956 by the editorial team.
Photographs of Fornasetti. The temptation arises to use the photographs of his objects to make more ‘Fornasetti’ objects, to arrange them on the page in one of Fornasetti’s many games (repetition, alternate repetition, upright, upside down, white, black, interval, surprise etc) or to make some kind of allegorical game of solitaires with photos of Fornasetti as cards. Perhaps even Fornasetti, decorating at his home his show rooms full of Fornasetti must have been taken up by this obsession of composing Fornasettis from Fornasettis. The printing game is a dangerous one, like a never ending game of mirrors. Going around these rooms filled with ‘fornasettis’ one also has the impression just as strong of that of the acrobatic richness of images: each object is extremely well-finished, clean and polished neatly hung, aligned or placed in its own box, lined with cloth, placed in a second box, also printed. A precision that never ends and that amazes right from the start because we expect that in this country things that are pleasing and fantastic have to be at least unfinished, slightly imperfect, and with a hidden fault. But then we realise that for Fornasetti this final perfection is part of the same process that occurs in the invention and execution of images, the mechanism of ordering and multiplying of his imagination. Imitators of Fornasetti are a long way off. Fornasetti on the other hand is preparing some new surprises for them with a new form of print closer to painting than to drawing that he is already working on.
Online from 24 November to 4 December 2016
Digging the archive #1
Domus 246, May 1950
Domus 313, December 1955
Domus 321, June 1956
Domus 357, August 1959