Parma dedicates an exhibition to the great publisher and intellectual Franco Maria Ricci

One year after his death, Parma is dedicating an exhibition to the great publisher and intellectual Franco Maria Ricci, one of the city's most illustrious sons: "Franco Maria Ricci. Signs of the Man" is scheduled at Palazzo Pigorini from October 23, 2021 to January 30, 2022.

On the occasion of Parma Capital of Culture 2020+21, from October 23, 2021 to January 30, 2022, the rooms of Palazzo Pigorini in Parma will host the exhibition Franco Maria Ricci. Signs of the Man, entirely dedicated to the great publisher and intellectual, who passed away in September 2020. The exhibition, organized by the City of Parma in collaboration with the Franco Maria Ricci Foundation, with the support of the MIC - Ministry of Culture and curated by Giorgio Antei and Maddalena Casalis, is an opportunity for the city to offer a tribute to one of its illustrious sons, providing a synthesis of his intense yet multifaceted activity.

A creator of books, images and utopias, throughout his life, Franco Maria Ricci (Parma, 1937 - Fontanellato, 2020) signed memorable graphic designs, gave birth to the most coveted brand in modern publishing, and conceived an impossible green labyrinth in Fontanellato, at the center of which he arranged his vast art collection. A lover of beauty and master of style, Ricci had a profound impact on Italian and international taste: his aesthetic choices as a publisher and designer gave rise to a “manner” that will remain among the indelible marks of the visual culture of the last fifty years. The exhibition thus illustrates Ricci’s creative itinerary through images, suggestions and brief commentaries that will enable the visitor to understand the mechanisms of one of the most fascinating aesthetic experiences of our time.

The exhibition itinerary will wind its way through the important graphic evidence of the 1960s and 1970s, including the logos for Poste Italiane and Cariparma, in use until very recently, as well as the advertising campaigns created for SCIC kitchens and furniture with the striking designs of Piero Crida, to finally let visitors discover, or rediscover, Franco Maria Ricci’s editorial adventure. From his love affair with Giambattista Bodoni and his Manuale Tipografico, where those guidelines from which Ricci has always drawn inspiration (proportion, regularity, exactitude, good taste and grace) are enunciated, to the covers of famous series such as The Signs of Man, bound in silk with gold embossing, The Library of Babel, with portraits of writers drawn by the pencil of Tullio Pericoli, and The Blue Library, with its characteristic sugar-paper blue color. What’s more, an entire room will be dedicated to FMR magazine, considered “the most beautiful magazine in the world” by its many fans, and today about to be reborn with the publication of new issues, which will, however, maintain unchanged the iconic covers, the care of the images, the pleasure of the texts and “the invention of black,” elements that defined its identity and decreed its success.

The installation, with a strong scenographic impact, will recreate in some rooms the environment of Franco Maria Ricci’s bookstores and will also be enriched by the screening of the documentary Ephémè;re. La bellezza inevitabile, made by Simone Marcelli, Barbara Ainis and Fabio Ferri and winner of the Best Documentary Award at the Salento Film Festival, which presents the figure of Franco Maria Ricci also through the voices of his lifelong friends (Bernardo Bertolucci, Inge Feltrinelli, Vittorio Sgarbi and others), as well as through unpublished videos and photographs that will recount the encounters, turning points and crucial moments in the publisher’s life. Closing the tour are the rooms dedicated to the Labirinto della Masone: a place first imagined, then designed and finally realized, the dream and metaphor of a whole life.

Realized with in collaboration with the technical sponsors 3DArcheoLab, Macrocoop, the exhibition will therefore be an opportunity for a full immersion in the world of Franco Maria Ricci, one of the personalities who most contributed to the diffusion of “Parmesan civilization,” knowing how to renew its centuries-old cultural traditions and re-propose them with wisdom and originality to worldwide attention. The exhibition is organized under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture, the Emilia-Romagna Region, the Municipality of Fontanellato, and the City of Parma, and the installations are by Neo Tech.

Parma dedicates an exhibition to the great publisher and intellectual Franco Maria Ricci
Parma dedicates an exhibition to the great publisher and intellectual Franco Maria Ricci

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