Del Bondio Rigassi Tamo at Torre Fiorenzana
Jannuzzi Smith Editions published Del Bondio Rigassi Tamo, a publication to mark the art installations by Piero Del Bondio, Reto Rigassi e Miguela Tamo at Torre Fiorenzana.
Fiorenzana is a medieval tower in Grono, Switzerland, which was recently restored and converted into an exhibition space. In discussion with the client, Pro Grigioni Italiano, we decided that three installation artist would take over the tower, producing specially commissioned work with the tower itself as a subject. The client wanted a catalogue for the event, for which we were asked to present proposals.
We were intrigued by the idea of juxtaposing contemporary art within the historical setting, and of each being informed with the other. But the installations would not be complete until the day of the private view, making a conventional printed catalogue of the exhibition a difficult proposition. Quite apart from time constraints, some works of art were by their nature difficult to document, their physical presence and their effect irreducible. The work of the three chosen artists belonged firmly in this category, and the catalogue’s prospect looked poor.
However, the artists were beginning to think about their installations, and were able to show us preliminary work. We felt that their working method – although not the expected focus of a show catalogue – was interesting in its own right. But even then there would be no time for printing, so we proposed to use the budget to produce a website, documenting the process of creation, from inception to production. We also noted how the work in progress was contextualised by the artist’ other work. We thought it was worth trying to share this insight, and perhaps there was still scope for a printed publication, if this could be used as the medium for new pieces of work on related themes.
A collaborative book was born, of new and unpublished photographs and texts by the artists, around which we designed a unifying structure, with a typographical treatment that extended to the website and the graphics for the show itself. We wanted the book to mirror the nature and themes of the show – contemporary/historical, interior/exterior, transience/permanence – and decided upon a literal (though perhaps surprising) interpretation, binding the book with slabs of granite from a quarry local to the tower, and from which the tower itself is made. The granite takes the place of the boards that encase most hardback books, while the spine is of conventional construction but in a shock of fluorescent colour – the old elivened by the new.