The Bolted Book Facsimile: An Exact Copy of Depero Futurista October 19 2016
In 1927, the Italian Futurist artist and designer Fortunato Depero created a monograph of his work unlike anything that had been seen before. Called Depero Futurista, or “Depero the Futurist,” it is also known as The Bolted Book, because it is famously bound together by two large industrial aluminum bolts.
The Center for Italian Modern Art in New York, the Mart, Museum of modern and contemporary art of Trento and Rovereto, Italy (which houses the Depero archives), and Designers & Books (New York) are collaborating on a Kickstarter (launched on October 18th) to publish a new facsimile edition, which will be the first exact copy of Depero Futurista ever produced since its original publication 90 years ago.
Filled with bold typographic experimentation, daring layouts, and featuring work in nearly every artistic and design medium, it is universally recognized as a landmark avant-garde example of the “book as object.”
You can view all 240 pages of the original Bolted Book in detail as well as English translations from selected pages at www.boltedbook.com.
About the Original Bolted Book and Fortunato Depero
Before artists like Andy Warhol blurred the lines between commercial and fine art, before there were zines that questioned the concept of the printed page, Fortunato Depero (Trento, Italy, 1892–1960) created The Bolted Book.
The book was a showcase for Depero’s work completed between 1913 and 1927 and also a platform for his iconoclastic ideas — what today would be called an artist’s book. These ideas anticipated, by almost 100 years, an approach to design and art making that can now be seen everywhere — from the breaking down of barriers between fine art and popular culture, to an emphasis on working in multimedia, to the necessity of self-promotion by artists and designers.
As a portfolio of Depero’s career, The Bolted Book includes paintings, sculptures, textile and architectural designs, theater, dance, and advertising work, wordplays, manifestos, and reviews he received in many different languages. The book in particular highlights Depero’s work in graphic design and typography, including his well-known advertisements for the Italian apéritif Campari, logos, and his “visual-verbal” experiments with type, which aimed to liberate language from conventional rules.
Depero by 1913 had embraced the modernist movement Futurism, which was marked by a love of the new century’s machine-driven technology and “dynamic” motion (in the form of cars, trains, and airplanes), coupled with a forceful rejection of past traditions and institutions.
With painter Giacomo Balla, in 1915 Depero authored the manifesto “Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe” – whose aim was to reimagine and redesign every aspect of the world to make it more exhilarating: to fuse life with art. The Bolted Book summed up Depero’s attempt, over the next decade and a half, to do exactly that, challenging the very structure of the book at the same time.