Bruno Munari
biography

One of the most important exponents of art, design, and graphics of the twentieth century, Bruno Munari (Milan 24 October 1907 – Milan 29 September 1998) began to work at the age of eighteen in various graphics studios, thanks to the help of an uncle who was an engineer.

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biography

One of the most important exponents of art, design, and graphics of the twentieth century, Bruno Munari (Milan 24 October 1907 – Milan 29 September 1998) began to work at the age of eighteen in various graphics studios, thanks to the help of an uncle who was an engineer.

As a very young man in Milan, Munari took part in the second generation of Futurists with whom he exhibited in the Galleria Pesaro in numerous group shows, such as those in 1927, 1929, 1931, and 1932. In 1929 he opened his own graphics and advertising studio and, in 1930, he made the first mobile in history, an aerial sculpture that opened the way to his “useless machines”. In fact, this area of interest was to continue in 1933 with the creation of suspended objects harmonically related together by their size, forms, and weight. Between 1930 and 1936 he took part in some editions of the Venice Biennale, the Rome Quadriennale, and the Milan Triennale. Besides his art work, Bruno Munari continued with his graphics work.  He worked at Mondadori as art director and, in 1948 together with Gillo Dorfles, Gianni Monnet, Galliano Mazzon, and Atanasio Soldati, he founded the Movimento Arte Concreta, MAC, a novelty for Italian art. This movement represented and proposed an interdisciplinary vision of the arts, and put on the same plane painting, architecture, sculpture, and design. These were fruitful years for Bruno Munari, years in which he collaborated with numerous magazines, amongst which “La Lettura”, “Natura”, “Settebello”, and “L’Ufficio Moderno”, he also illustrated Futurist books, including “Il Poema del vestito di latte” by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, and designed adverts for Campari. In 1942 he published “Le machine di Munari” and, in 1945, a series of innovative books for children inspired by the infancy of his son Alberto, born in 1940.

Over time Munari progressively distanced himself from the Futurist groups and maintained an autonomous position with respect to other Italian art groups. In 1950 he presented his “Libri illegibili”, Illegible Books, consisting of purely visual stories, and his first series of “Negativi-positivi” paintings, abstract works that were drawn contemporaneously in “two parts” and which were exhibited for the first time at the Libreria Salto and then in Paris in 1951, Milan (1952), and Rome (1953). In 1952 he received the first requests from the industrial sector for serially produced objects, and he made two toys in foam rubber, one of which was awarded the Compasso d’oro prize in 1954. Bruno Munari’s involvement in design became continuous after 1957 when he began to collaborate with the Danese firm in Milan. The following year, Munari created a sign language by modelling the tines of forks and, in the same year, presented his travelling sculptures, a new look at the concept of sculpture, the symbol of the new globalised world, where even sculpture was no longer monumental but was in a “journeying” format. During the 1950s his fame travelled beyond national boundaries and his “Useless machines” were exhibited in Europe and America. In 1962, in the Olivetti store in Milan, he organised a famous show about Programmed Art. In 1967 he was invited by Harvard University to hold a course on visual communications. In 1968 he took part in the Milan Triennale, and continued with his studies of the world of childhood. And it was for children that, in 1970/71 he designed for the Robots firm his famous “Abitacolo”, a transformable inhabitable space. In the Brera gallery, Milan, in1977 he began to plan a workshop for children, the acme of his interest in childhood. In 1979 he was awarded a further Compasso d’oro for “Abitacolo”, and then received a mention of honour from the New York Academy of Sciences; lastly, in 1989 he was awarded an honours degree in architecture by Genoa University.

In the 1980s and 1990s Munari’s creativity not only did not diminish but increased and was concretised in new and different series of works, such as his “Sculture filipesi”, 1981, his 1989 rotors, his high tension structures in 1990, and the large Weathering steel sculptures  exhibited in Naples, Cesenatico, and Riva del Garda. One of his last projects was for a “free time” watch designed for Swatch in 1997.

The artist died in Milan on 30 September 1998.

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exhibitions

2017

Rosigliano Marittimo (LI), Galleria Granelli

Cittadella (PD), Palazzo Pretorio

Torino, MEF - Museo Ettore Fico

 

2016

Venaria Reale (TO), Res Publica

 

2015

Castiglioncello (LI), Galleria Granelli

Milano, Galleria Bonelli

 

2014

Milano, Museo del Novecento

 

2013

Shizouka, The Vangi’s Sculpture Museum

 

2012

Brescia, Galleria dell’Incisione

Bologna, Massimo & Sonia Cirulli

London, Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art

New York, Galleria Cirulli

Milano, Galleria Six

Milano, Dep Art

 

2011

Padova, Maab Studio D’arte

 

2010

Yokusuka, Yokusuka Museum of Art

Milano, Galleria Allegra Ravizza

Treviso, Galleria l’Elefante

 

2009

Roma, GalleriaUno

Mantova, Galleria Corraini

 

2008

Mantova, Galleria Corraini

Roma, Museo dell’Ara Pacis

Mantova, Galleria Corraini

Sassuolo (MO), Betta Frigieri Arte Conteporanea

Shiga, The Museum of Modern Art Shiga

Mantova, Galleria Corraini

Treviso, Galleria l’Elefante

 

2007

Ancona, Biblioteca L. Benincasa

Prato, Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci

Mantova, Galleria Corraini

 

1999

Busto Arsizio (VA), Fondazione Bandera per l’Arte

Nuoro, Museo d’Arte di Nuoro

 

1998 

Torino, Palazzo Cisterna

Gallarate (VA), Civica Galleria d'Arte Moderna

Lugano, Studio D'Arte Contemporanea Dabbeni

Lubin, Galeria Stara

Trnava, Palazzo Koniarek, Museo d'Arte Moderna

 

1997

Brescia, Galleria Sincron

Trieste, Scuderie del Castello di Miramare

Brno, Dum Umeni (Kunsthalle)

Klenova, Museo d'Arte Moderna Galleria Klatovy

 

1996

Bergamo, Galleria Fumagalli

Brescia, Galleria Sincron

 

1995

Lainate (MI), Villa Litta Borromeo Visconti

Alessandria, Loft Art Tacchella

Cantù (CO), Palazzo delle esposizioni)

Zurich, Museum für Gestaltung

 

1994

Livorno, Galleria Peccolo

Palazzolo sull'Oglio (BS), Galleria F22

Novara, Studio UXA

Mantova, Galleria Corraini

 

1992 

Bolzano, Galleria Spatia

Novara, Galleria Stazionedellarte

 

1991

Brescia, Galleria Sincron - with Jiri Kolar

Bra (CN), Centro Polifunzionale G. Arpino

Mantova, Galleria Corraini

Milano, Negozio Danese

Milano, Centro Domus

Milano, Galleria Vismara

 

1990

Milano, Galleria Vismara

Napoli, Studio Morra

Como, Galleria Atrio

Torino, Saletta Rossa

Soncino, Rocca Sforzesca

Finale Ligure (SV), Galleria Valente Arte Contemporanea

 

1989

Faenza (RA), Museo Internazionale delle ceramiche

Jerusalem, Israel Museum

 

1988

Brescia, Galleria Sincron 

Cernenglos, Villa Laura

Cesenatico (FC), Galleria Comunale d'Arte Leonardo da Vinci

Novara, Studio UXA and Comune 

 

1987

Milano, Galleria Danese

Milano, Galleria Vismara

Brescia, Galleria Sincron

 

1986

Milano, Palazzo Reale

Rovigo, Accademia dei Concordi

Novara, Studio UXA

Venezia, XLIII Biennale Internazionale d'Arte

Brescia, Galleria Sincron

 

1985

Milano, Museo di Storia Naturale

Paris, Galleria Danese

 

1984

Mantova, Galleria Corraini

Trieste, Studio d'Arte Nadia Bassanese

Puerto la Cruz, Galerìa Municipal

Maracaibo, Centro de Bellas Artes

Valencia, Ateneo de Valencia

Maracaibo, Casa de la Cultura

Barquisimeto, Museo de Barquisimeto

Caracas, Museo de los Niños y Museo de Bellas Artes

Bolivár, Museo de Arte Moderno Fundaciòn Soto

 

1983

Palazzolo sull'Oglio (BS), Galleria F22

Brescia, Galleria Sincron

Milano, Galleria Plura

 

1982 

Galleria Nomen 

 

1981

Brescia, Galleria Sincron

Milano, Danese

 

1980

Ivrea (TO), Olivetti

Milano, Danese

Milano, Galleria Apollinaire

Brescia, Galleria Sincron

 

1979

Parma, Università degli Studi, Salone delle Scuderie in Pilotta

 

1978

Palazzolo sull'Oglio (BS), Galleria Studio F22

Milano, Galleria Arte Struktura

Genova, Galleria del Portello

Mestre, Galleria 8 + 1

 

1977

Brescia, Galleria Sincron - with Mario Ballocco

Savona, Galleria Il Brandale

 

1976

Genova, Centro del Portellova

Novara, Studio UXA

Milano, Galleria Mercato del Sale

 

1975

Brescia, Galleria Sincron

Parma, Galleria A

Cadaques, Galleria Cadaques

 

1974

Brescia, Galleria Sincron

Milano, Galleria Blu

 

1973

Zagreb, Galerie Zagreb

Ostiglia (MN), Galleria L'Incontro

Brescia, Galleria Sincron

Milano, Galleria Zen

Pescara, Galleria Nuova Dimensione

 

1972

Venezia, Galleria del Cavallino

Padova, Galleria La Chiocciola

Parma, Galleria della Steccata

København and Stockholm, Istituto Italiano di Cultura 

 

1971

Montevideo, Istituto Italiano di Cultura

Milano, Galleria San Fedele

Milano, Salone dell'Annunciata 

 

1970

Milano, Gallerian Danese

Milano, Gallerian Danese

Novara, Studio UXA

Graz, Kunstlerhaus

Venezia, Biennale

Milano, Galleria Annunciata

Bergamo, Studio 2B

Monza, Galleria Caprotti

Brescia, Galleria Sincron

 

1969

New York, Design Research

Roma, Studio Farnese

 

1968

Parma, Galleria A

Cadaques, Galleria Cadaques

Ostiglia (MN), Galleria l'Incontro

Brescia, Galleria Sincron

Milano, Galleria Danese

Como, Galleria La Colonna

Basel, Kunstwerbeschule

 

1967 

Milano, Galleria Vismara

Milano, Galleria Danese

 

1966

Napoli, Galleria Modern Art

Roma, Galleria dell'Obelisco

New York, Design Research

New York, Howard Wise Gallery

Venezia, XXXIII Biennale Internazionale d'Arte

 

1965

Milano, Galleria Danese

 

1964

Zurich, Galleria Objet

 

1963

Milano, Galleria Danese

 

1961

Milano, Galleria Danese

 

1960

Milano, Galleria San Fedele

Tokyo, The National Museum of Modern Art

 

1959

Milano, Galleria Danese

 

1958

Stochkolm, Museo d'arte Moderna

Milano, Galleria Danese

Milano, Galleria Montenapoleone

Milano, Studio di Architettura di M. Brunati, S. Mendini, F. Villa

 

1957

Paris, Galleria Christofle

 

1956

Milano, Saletta dell'arte, Libreria S. Babila 

 

1955

Milano, Galleria Apollinaire 

New York,Museum of Modern Art 

Firenze, Galleria Numero

Roma, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna

Milano, Galleria del Fiore

 

1954

New York, Studio Leo Lionni

 

1953

Milano, Studio B24

Milano, Saletta dell'Elicottero, Bar dell'Annunciata

 

1952

Venezia, XXVI Biennale Internazionale d'Arte

Milano, Galleria Bergamini

 

1951

Milano, Saletta dell'Elicottero, Bar dell'Annunciata

Milano, Centro di Studi Grafic

 

1949

Milano, Galleria dell'Annunciata 

Venezia, Galleria del Cavallino

 

1948

Milano, Galleria dell'Annunciata

 

1946

Milano, Galleria Bergamini

 

1944

Milano, Galleria Ciliberti

 

1940

Milano, Galleria del Milione

 

1933

Milano, Galleria delle 3 Arti

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