New Facsimile Edition of Fortunato Depero’s “Bolted Book”

New Facsimile Edition of Fortunato Depero’s “Bolted Book”


Designers & Books Launches a Kickstarter on October 18 to Publish New Facsimile Edition of Fortunato Depero’s “Bolted Book”

The First Artist’s Book of the 20th Century

A 1927 Masterpiece of Avant-Garde Graphic Design and Book-Making Is Set to Return to Print.

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September 25, 2016 (New York) Designers & Books is launching a Kickstarter on October 18 to publish a new facsimile edition of Depero Futurista (Depero the Futurist), recognized as the first modern-day artist’s book. Known as “The Bolted Book” because of its famous binding using two aluminum industrial bolts, Depero Futurista is a visual tour de force filled with groundbreaking typographic experiments and bold explorations in nearly every art and design medium, including advertising and the form of the book itself. Conceived in 1927 by the Italian Futurist Fortunato Depero, the book was created as both a showcase for Depero’s work and a platform for his iconoclastic ideas. These ideas anticipated, by almost 100 years, an approach to design- and art-making that can be seen everywhere today — from the breaking down of barriers between fine art and popular culture, to an emphasis on working across multiple disciplines, to the necessity of self-promotion by artists and designers.

The facsimile edition will be produced in collaboration with the Mart, Museum of modern and contemporary art of Trento and Rovereto, which houses the Depero archives; and the Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA) in New York, which featured The Bolted Book as a centerpiece of its acclaimed 2014 inaugural exhibition, devoted to Fortunato Depero.

“Depero is a truly contemporary figure,” says Heather Ewing, CIMA’s Executive Director. “In a way that seems perfectly in tune with global trends today, he embraced the cult of modernity and technology, seeing cities and advertising as high art forms in and of themselves. He developed a unique voice that married the mechanical with the fantastical. His work – and way of working – are as relevant today as they were innovative a century ago.”

Issued in a limited edition (planned to be 1,000 copies but never fully realized), the very rare original Depero Futurista now can be found primarily in the permanent collections of major museums and libraries worldwide. Ewing affirms, “Making this landmark work widely available to a current generation of designers, artists, and admirers of the art of the book is an exciting and important development for design history.”

Please support the Kickstarter project: http://bit.ly/BoltedBook

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About The Bolted Book and Fortunato Depero

Before artists like Andy Warhol blurred the lines between commercial and fine art, before there were zines that questioned the concept of the printed page, Fortunato Depero (Trento, Italy, 1892–1960) created The Bolted Book. A painter, sculptor, and graphic artist, who also produced textiles, furnishings, exposition pavilions, theater props, sets for dance, and children’s toys, Depero by 1913 had embraced the modernist movement Futurism, which was marked by a love of the new century’s machine-driven technology and “dynamic” motion (represented by cars, trains, and airplanes), coupled with a forceful rejection of past traditions and institutions. With painter Giacomo Balla, in 1915 Depero authored the manifesto “Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe” – whose aim was to re-envision, and re-design, every aspect of the world to make it more exhilarating, to fuse life with art. Depero Futurista, or The Bolted Book, summed up Depero’s attempt, over the next decade and a half, to do exactly that, challenging the very structure of the book at the same time.

Published in Milan in 1927 by the painter-aviator Fedele Azari, who on an introductory page described it as “a mechanical book bolted down like an engine,” the book was dubbed “a typographical racing car” by Futurism’s founder, F. T. Marinetti. Included were reproductions of Depero’s drawings, paintings, and sculptures, as well as photographs of exhibition installations of his work, sketches of costumes for the first ballet without human dancers, designs for pillows, and numerous statements, reviews, and manifestos. The book in particular highlights Depero’s work in graphic design and typography, including his well-known advertisements for the Italian apéritif Campari, logos, and his “visual-verbal” experiments with type, which aimed to liberate language from conventional rules.

Depero took The Bolted Book with him on his first trip to New York in 1928, where it served as a business card for securing design work and “portable museum” (when the bolts were removed, the pages could be pinned up on a wall, exhibition style). He was the only Futurist ever to live in New York City and while there, he produced graphic designs and covers for publications such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker.

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About The Bolted Book Facsimile Edition

The Bolted Book Facsimile will be an exact copy of the original Depero Futurista, including its unusual binding using bolts and wide variety of highly tactile paper stocks. Accompanying the Facsimile will be a softcover Reader’s Guide featuring English translations of key elements of the book; essays by Depero scholars and curators that examine the book’s design legacy; a selection of previously unpublished photographs, drawings, and correspondence from the Depero archives at the Mart, Museum of modern and contemporary art of Trento and Rovereto; and a special acknowledgments page with the names of the Kickstarter supporters.
Facsimile Specifications:

  • 12 ½ inches (l.) x 9 ½ inches (h.) (32 x 24.2 cm), oblong
  • 240 pages, including one gatefold
  • On papers of various weight and colors
  • Includes 28 pages of black-and-white and four-color images; 108 pages of one- and two-color type
  • Bound in flexible blue paper boards, printed in black and silver, secured by two large aluminum bolts

Each page of The Bolted Book can now be viewed online at a dedicated website: www.boltedbook.com

Among the rewards that will be offered to Kickstarter supporters are wooden sculptures and pillows from original Depero designs as well as book totes and t-shirts incorporating Depero logos and art included in The Bolted Book.

The Kickstarter campaign will run from October 18 through December 1, 2016.

About the Mart, Museum of modern and contemporary art of Trento and Rovereto

The Mart, Museum of modern and contemporary art of Trento and Rovereto, is one of the most important museums in Italy and also in Europe. Opened in 1987 as a cultural institution for the independent province of Trento, today the Mart operates three different sites: the main museum in Rovereto, the Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero in Rovereto, and the Civic Gallery in Trento. In addition to organizing exhibitions, events, and workshops, the Mart hosts artists, curators, and international and local businesses’ and citizens’ events.

About the Center for Italian Modern Art

The Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA), founded in 2013 in New York City, is a nonprofit exhibition and research center established to promote scholarship and advance public appreciation of modern and contemporary Italian art in the U.S. and internationally. Through research fellowships, annual installations, and cultural programming, CIMA advocates for a deeper awareness of 20th-century Italian art and its enduring legacy, fosters cultural exchange between Italy and the U.S., and serves as an incubator for new discourse and scholarly debate.

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About Designers & Books

Designers & Books is a website that advocates for books as important sources of

inspiration. The Bolted Book Kickstarter project is part of a program to connect specialized audiences interested in design and creativity to noteworthy designer-

authored books, and to facsimile editions of important out-of-print books about design. Designers & Books created the successfully funded Kickstarter for the facsimile edition of Visual Design in Action by Ladislav Sutnar in 2015, and was last on Kickstarter in spring 2016 with the successful original publication Seymour Chwast: At War with War.

View the complete contents of The Bolted Book and selected videos at www.boltedbook.com

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