To present the new book by Olimpia Zagnoli, for which we curated the book design, we could say that “some projects are endless, they go round and round and then return”. Caleidoscopica is a colourful monograph focused on the illustrator's 10 creative years. The book was published by Lazy Dog in 2021, although the project was born many years before.
In 2015, we asked Olimpia Zagnoli to tell her story and the world she draws inspiration from by creating a collage of sketches, boards, photos and anything else that has influenced her work. A year later, the idea of exploring her world of doodles, kisses, nature and faces was interrupted to make room for the La Grande Estate exhibition and book project, a journey through the colours and landscapes of the Tuscan summer, in collaboration with Mutty.
Postponing the monograph project for a few years enabled us to include more than 100 works by Olimpia that she had created for the world of publishing, fashion and communication, in her unmistakeable style. For Paola Pallottino - an Italian art historian and illustrator - what makes Olimpia Zagnoli's style unique is the expressiveness of her figures: “repetitive, contrasting, comparative or reflective, a variety of rhetorical elements ironically permeates Olimpia Zagnoli's work.”
Caleidoscopica is a monographic collection in no chronological order, yet it develops by means of formal and thematic affinities. Olimpia’s boards speak for themselves.
«Caleidoscopica was an opportunity for me to take stock.
Not a frenetic dot bouncing like a cricket in my thoughts, but a fixed point in the centre of the page.
A collective work that enabled me to look at the work I’ve done over the last ten years through the multi-coloured lenses of the people who contributed to this book and that seem to know me better than I do myself.»
The format of Caleidoscopica was inspired by the optical instrument that creates a multitude of symmetrical structures with mirrors and glass fragments. A steady flow of images, marked by a precise rhythm.
As in a cordless telephone, the works collected in Caleidoscopica whisper in each other's ears, in a continuous dialogue. In order to give the 148 pages the right rhythm, we made use of a technical publishing ploy, the overlapping four-page insert. We achieved this by binding a sheet of coloured paper, every 16 or 8 pages, which contains contributions from critics.
The concept of circular flow is also obtained by the absence of a title page in the book and punctuated by a string of thoughts from authors, who work in the fields of illustration, design and art, regarding Olimpia's work. The uniqueness of the publication is enhanced by a series of sketches, visual notes and preparatory works that reveal the creative process used by Olimpia to achieve her distinctive freshness and naturalness.
The book Caleidoscopica, edited by Melania Gazzotti, will also be the focus of an exhibition in Reggio Emilia scheduled for September 2021.
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