Via Nievo From Munari to Antinori with Marzia Corraini
by Alessandro Carboni09.11.2017
In the middle of the publishing industry crisis, children’s books almost fly off the shelves. From Munari to Antinori with Marzia Corraini
Knock, knock. The children knock at the doors of fantasy. They like books; books are pages to turn over, paper and cardboard to touch, shapes to discover and colours, the vowels of imagination. Bruno Munari used to say that we need to teach children how to open a book for pleasure, without fear. Only then will they grow up as the readers of tomorrow. “They who get used to handle and know the book as an object, establish an enduring connection with it” – says Marzia Corraini. A contemporary art lover, Ms Corraini has been working for years in the children’s publishing industry. In 1973, his husband Maurizio has founded in Mantua the Corraini Edizioni, the publishing house where Bruno Munari’s artistic and pedagogical thought is spread. Munari, born in Milan, is one of the greatest Italian artists and designers of the 20th century. He has edited several series of books for Corraini Edizioni including stories, tales and artist books. A world on paper, made up of experiences, ideas and materials, combinations of words and images.
“He has acted as a designer aware of the child’s growth – says Corraini – “He makes the book come into different shapes: it can be a triangle or a square, it can have a plain or irregular cover, some of them make noise. It is designed first and foremost as an object that can arise curiosity and push towards discovery”. This is what happens with his masterpiece “Toc toc. Who is it? Open the door”, first published in 1945 and still printed nowadays.
Thanks to their revolutionary strength and profound modernity, Munari’s works are cornerstones of the niche children’s publishing. In the last years, this section has proved resistant to the pressure of the publishing market, eventually becoming its driving force. In the middle of the publishing industry crisis, children’s books almost fly off the shelves. “For obvious reasons – Corraini comments – we cannot overlook the material feature, the object you can see and touch. On the other hand, in the present times we pay much more attention to the children’s needs. As the number of published books has risen, many independent publishing houses have been founded, and their production has grown in time. “There has been a clear improvement in quality – says Corraini – Several new publishers are working very well nowadays”. The rise of supply has been followed by a general rise in quality. “Until some years ago, the French publishing was the only leader in the market – she adds – Nowadays, the Italian market too has become a reference point on children’s books”.
There is another positive fact. At last, illustrators are becoming aware of their work, and promising professionals are establishing themselves, I am thinking about Olimpia Zagnoli and Emiliano Ponzi. As a publishing house, we are both printing classics and working on new projects with emerging or well known illustrators. We are constantly looking for artists who create something new, who can discuss contents – which are substance and form at the same time. Suzy Lee, Korean illustrator and author of “The Border Trilogy” is among Corraini’s pleasant discoveries. Fairs and festivals represent one of the most direct way to establish new collaborations. However, a good number of projects that publishers choose to develop are sent directly to the offices in via Nievo. “Is this a moose?” by Andrea Antinori, first received by email, was soon transformed into a publication. “Hundreds of emails are sent to our email address every day, we only reply when we find something really interesting – adds Corraini. We liked the idea of this foolish moose, so we replied, and now we publish Antinori’s books”. Hardbound books by Yocci (Yoshiko Noda) are the latest works presented by Corraini Edizioni at the Bil.Bol.Bul international comic festival of Bologna. “Il re della torta di carote” [The king of carrot cake] and other stories do not speak to children only. They are books, artworks, tales through which adults too can knock at the door of fantasy.
(ITA) Andrea Antinori ha appena pubblicato con Corraini L’entrata di Cristo a Bruxelles, liberamente ispirato dal quadro omonimo di James Ensor. Lo trovi su ILIT 7+8 con il suo reportage dedicato alla capitale belga.