Visible Books, Unreadable Books: Bruno Munari’s Iconotextual Playground
Bruno Munari has been increasingly recognised as one of the twentieth century’s most important and eclectic artists, both in Italy and internationally. A true self-taught polymath, he has become a point of reference in fields as diverse as visual art, industrial and graphic design, children’s literature, and art pedagogy. In this essay, I will focus on Munari’s works that can be listed under the conventional but increasingly inadequate heading of ‘books for children’. Specifically, this essay examines and discusses how the work he produced that is linked to Futurism, Abstractionism, or Concrete art, can be seen to have migrated into, and been remediated for, his books and activities for children; and how the visual language of experimental art could be translated into effective and meaningful visual experiences for lay people.