Design An exhibition on the true Italian language

An exhibition on the true Italian language

Tommaso Berra

In Italy, parochialism is one of the most established cultural aspects of the peninsula, for 1300 kilometers each area claims its own territory, its own traditions and, woe, its own cuisine. In some areas even dialects are claimed as real languages, always with interesting historical reasons to back it up. It is true that Italy is composed of very different languages from North to South, with grammatical rules separate from those of the Italian born with Dante and which has become the common language, there is, however, a universal language, with which we can understand each other almost universally from Trento to Catania, namely that of gestures.
A meme for Italians themselves and a stereotype about our country for foreigners, gestures have always been recognized as a common language to be explained to the outside world. As early as 1832, in fact, Canonico Andrea de Jorio published in Naples a 380-page volume of text with 19 illustrations, later taken up, first in 1958 and then in 1963 by Bruno Munari, in his Supplemento al dizionario italiano, designed “to have the most exact documentation possible, for the use of foreigners visiting Italy.”

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of this study, Corraini – publisher of the latest edition of the supplement – is organizing the SUPPLEMENT TO THE ITALIAN DICTIONARY: 60 YEARS OF GESTS exhibition in Milan at Libreria Corraini 121+ on Via Savona 17/5, open from April 18 until May 30, 2023.
There are 50 photos of as many gestures collected by Bruno Munari among the most significant of this typically Italian alternative language.
From the request to be silent to the most eloquent gestures to communicate that one is hungry, in the original project the pictures are flanked by captions in Italian, English, French and German to justify the intention of that only seemingly bizarre collection of practical expressiveness.
A new stop to put on the already busy schedule for Design Week, dedicated to the work of Bruno Munari, one of the artists who best represented Italian design.

Written by Tommaso Berra
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