The italian Gutenbergs


‘1492. This fatidical year marked the beginning of dramatic period of conquest and, above all, of that great adventure which was the encounter of two worlds. Protagonists were the missionaries who arri-ved in the New World with the intention of spreading the message of Christ. A new culture was born: a Latin-American identity. Interest in these new peoples made the missionaries work hard to create a basis of communication. Initial efforts were directed toward learning the native languages, a difficult task which fi-nally enabled the missionaries to penetrate the soul of the Amerindians. Printing became the privileged in-strument for spreading the Gospel and European cul-ture, but also for safeguarding the cultural heritage of the Amerindians. To underline what a key role Italians played in bringing and developing printing in the New World, a part of the exhibition is dedicated to the Gutenbergs of America. Giovanni Paoli and Gilberto Barbero, who brought the first printing press across the Atlantic in 1539. In seeking a common thread linking the world of communication through men and technologies, the organizers have attempted to underline the high craftsmanship which knows and wants to absorb the values of a tradition and a tech-nology which appear forgotten with respect to the development of electronics. A tribute and an acknowledgement of a culture which, in enhancing new discove-ries, also recognises the value of a newly recovered tradition within a society where languages and communication techniques are fast changing. The exhibition is divided into five sections: 1) fundamental stages in the technical evolution of printing; 2) the emigration of graphic techniques to America (with a comparison between the Gutenberg Bible and that of Paoli and Barbero). 3) the environments of the ‘culture workshops’ with blown up reproductions of the old printing shops; 4) the aesthetical birth of type (with a continuos cycle video on the activity of Aldo Novarese, the greatest maker of letter type of all time); 5) electronic printing (in particular Galfra characters in the digitalized version for laser photo units).’


22 Agosto 1992 - 29 Agosto 1992


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions