Pop-ups. The Magic of Books
8 December 2017 – 18 February 2018
Hermann Geiger Cultural Foundation
Piazza Guerrazzi 32, Cecina (LI)
Open daily from 4 to 8 pm. Free admission
Opening: 8 December, 5 pm
A journey through time to experience the surprise and amazement felt across the ages by anyone opening three-dimensional volumes: the exhibition Pop-ups. The Magic of Books, curated by Giulia Santi, at the Hermann Geiger Cultural Foundation from 8 December 2017 to 18 February 2018, brings together more than one hundred paper engineering works from Massimo Missiroli’s collection, in which complex harmonies of mechanisms and folds create animated illustrations that have fascinated young and old for over a century.
The selection of the titles on display aims to provide a broad overview of the evolution of the techniques used to give volume to the images when the pages are opened, allowing them to fold back again once the cover is closed. Volumes by paper engineering masters of yesterday and today are on display, such as Ernest Nister, Vojtěch Kubašta, and Robert Sabuda. It is also interesting to note that from the end of the 19th century to the present day, the aesthetics of three-dimensional illustrations and the choice of themes have suited the tastes of the different epochs, so that it is possible to admire – among other things – delicate scenes of bucolic life, traditional fairy tales, and modern film productions in their transposition in pop-up books.
From early volumes that included only a few relief illustrations, meant exclusively for children of wealthy families, to modern pop-ups in which the structures rise up from the pages by almost fifty centimetres, a treat for fans and collectors of all ages, many things, though, have remained unchanged. The design, for example, is still taken care of by the paper engineer, who works out with skill and creativity the folds and structures necessary to animate the illustrations; moreover, the manufacture of each individual book, irrespective of the print run, is only carried out by hand by specialized workers who assemble, paste and fold every single element of the pop-up; finally, the principle underlying every book has remained unaltered, that is, leave those who open its pages with a sense of wonder.
The exhibition itinerary develops backwards, from the most recent to the oldest volumes dating back to the 19th century, in a playful setting recalling some of the elements of three-dimensional illustrations in animated books. In order to offer visitors the opportunity to be surprised at the unfolding of the images, a few video stations in the exhibition halls have been set up to show the moment when the pop-up is opened. A catalogue of texts on the topic and images from most of the books on show accompanies the exhibition. Like all initiatives of the Geiger Foundation, the display has free admission and is open daily, including on holidays.
Cover photo: Scia. Poesia di carta di David Pelham. Franco Cosimo Panini Editore Spa, 2008