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Saturday 20 October: 3:30pm - 4:30pm

Little Hall, Sidgwick Site, CB3 9DA

Bruno Munari was one of the most important twentieth-century Italian artists, who also published a series of ‘Unreadable Books’. What are they? And what can we do with them? With Pierpaolo Antonello.

Bruno Munari (1907-1998) was one of the most important 20th-century Italian artists, pioneering what will later be called Kinetic Art, and playing a key role in the constitution and definition of the aesthetic programmes of groups such as Movimento Arte Concreta and Programmed Art. He was a prominent figure in Italian graphic design, working for magazines like Tempo and Domus, as well as prestigious publishing companies like Einaudi and Bompiani. Throughout his career Munari authored or contributed to, either as a writer or as an illustrator and graphic designer, almost 180 books, ranging from essays on art to experimental books, creative writing, didactic books and children’s literature (for which he received the Andersen award as best child author in 1974, and the Lego award for his exceptional contributions to the development of creativity for children in 1986). Constantly interested in exploring the limits of “readability” of texts, and of the book as a “visible” and material object, this talk would investigate the intersection between Munari’s work in the fine arts with his work as a writer and graphic designer, exploring the “borders” between text and image, and the range of “peritextual” inventions that he employed in the books that he wrote, illustrated, and designed. Specific attention will be given to his Unreadable books and Pre-books where the notion of the peritext (i.e., what lies outside the text in a book) is creatively brought to its limits.

Dr Pierpaolo Antonello is Reader in Modern Italian literature and culture at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of St John’s College. He published widely on various topics including literature, philosophy, film, and visual culture. His most recent publication is 'Bruno Munari: The Lightness of Art' (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2017), edited with Matilde Nardelli and Margherita Zanoletti.

Booking Information

Telephone number:
01223 766766

Booking required


Hearing loop

Additional Information

Age: 12+, Talk, Arrive on time, free