Inside every book there is a story, not only that told by words and pictures, but another – rarely written about – generated by the kaleidoscope of emotions, meetings, journeys, frantic telephone calls, moments of euphoria, tension and unease. Relating this editorial adventure that has lasted more than twenty years would have required a lot of paper.
Here I have chosen a chronological sentimental bibliography, enriched by photographs, book covers, personal accounts and articles collected over the years. The idea of publishing Books and booklets does not only come from the need to reorganise all the volumes that I have curated since 1981, it is also an ideal way of thanking all those people who have chosen me to create their books and catalogues, and everybody who has helped me along the way. Literally tons and tons of paper has left Turin on its way to art galleries, museums, editors, artists and auction houses throughout the world. It seems incredible that I have catalogued more than seven hundred titles. Now I have dug then all out and looked through them one by one.
Going through such a wealth of ideas and creations was a very emotional experience! This fascinating and complex adventure has been charged with ambition, passion and curiosity, demanding constant determination. When I began work in the early Eighties, I didn’t have a fax or an email address, neither did the internet and its constant flow of virtual information exist. I learned how to make a book from a block of paper, matching and pasting texts and colour proofs together: a far cry from modern techniques which help and speed up lots of procedures but which are not fundamental.
Arranging a book’s layout means having clear ideas, knowing photolithographic and printing procedures, the reaction that an image may have with the paper, the different types of book bindings and, above all, having good aesthetic judgement and the ability to solve problems. I have gained a great pleasure from producing Books and booklets about famous artists and the lesser-known ones whom I was the first to believe in.
Many of them spent hours of intense work at the printers and shared the fascination and feeling of gratification that comes from holding the first freshly-bound copies as they came out of the press. I learned everything from my father, who passed on a strong work ethic and introduced me to the sphere of international publishing and art.
During my childhood, I met the protagonists of the 20th century art world who worked with my father, people such as Giorgio de Chirico, Peggy Guggenheim, Jean Dubuffet and Lucio Fontana. Ever since then, I have been lucky enough to meet many others, travel the world and have a cosmopolitan training, but most of all, to believe in my work. Books and booklets is an affectionate name for my small-format books, which make up the disegnodiverso series. It was set up in 1991, and now includes more than 40 different titles. I played a more creative role with these editions, choosing the authors, inventing an original pathway across the once fecund landscape of book production, giving the artists as much creative freedom as possible. Sometimes I ask myself if the choice for my degree thesis, a critical analysis of a treatise by Charles Le Brun1 on how to draw human passions, was really the first step along this path. What I can say is, this last quarter of a century of incessant work has certainly been worth it.