In his anthology, Mario Barenghi (Italo Calvino, Saggi 1945-1985, Milan, Mondadori, 1995), cited Italo Calvino who described his story-writing as always starting with an image that came to him, he knew not from where. Although it might live with him for years, that image gradually developed into a story with a beginning and an end.
In 2023, the fourth “Italian Excellence” Exhibition marked the centennial of the birth of Italo Calvino, the world-famous Italian writer, beloved by readers of all ages. Departing from the format of the previous three editions, the Exhibition payed tribute to the literary excellence of Italo Calvino with illustrations of Calvino’s works by artists from around the world.
Italian Excellence. Illustrations for Italo Calvino is an exhibition, curated by Accademia Drosselmeier/Cooperativa Giannino Stoppani and organised by the Emilia-Romagna Regional administration with the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, with 120 illustrations dedicated to the great author’s work on display right at the heart of the Fair.
The works include contributions from established artists who have already published their interpretations of Calvino’s texts, and the 122 illustrations (2 for each of the 61 illustrators) winners of a competition promoted by the Fair and open to the participation of candidates from all over the world, who wished to offer their personal visions of the characters, places and ideas in Calvino’s novels. The works on display have been collected in a bilingual (Italian and English) catalogue published by Mondadori.
The Exhibition were on show at the very centre of the upcoming 60th edition of Bologna Children’s Book Fair – from 6 to 9 March 2023 – after which a tour in numerous Italian Cultural Institutes around the world has started. The multi-language Exhibition catalogue contain all the illustrations on show accompanied by texts by Calvino. Both the Exhibition and catalogue are be curated by Accademia Drosselmeier/Cooperativa Giannino Stoppani. The exhibited works have been collected in a bilingual (Italian-English) catalogue published by Mondadori.
The Exhibition Tour
The exhibition was presented at the very centre of the 60th edition of Bologna Children’s Book Fair – from 6 to 9 March 2023 – before touring numerous Italian Cultural Institutes around the world.
The first planned stage was the Festival du Livre de Paris (Grand Palais Éphémère, 21-23 April 2023) where Italy was Guest of Honour. Participation was made possible by the support and collaboration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Culture with the Centre for Books and Reading, the Italian Embassy in Paris, the Italian Cultural Institute in Paris, ICE - Agency for the promotion abroad and the internationalisation of Italian companies and AIE - Italian Publishers' Association.
Up next, the following stages are:
- 29 April - 30 June, Castiglione della Pescaia (GR), which Italo Calvino had elected as a place of the heart;
- 5 May - 30 June, Battipaglia (SA), in property taken from organized crime and transferred to the municipality (Via Gramsci, 39/41/43/45)
- 19 - 21 May, Firenze dei bambini, Sala D'Arme in Palazzo Vecchio, Florence;
- 24 - 28 May, at the Bookfest International Book Fair of Bucharest (Romania);
- 8 - 31 May at the Jaguar Despertado Gallery, Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico;
- 10-14 June, Lyon (France), at the Hotel de Ville on the occasion of the Lyon BD festival;
- 15 - 18 June at the Beijing International Book Fair;
- June 13 to Sept. 29 in Montréal, Canada (Organized by the Italian Cultural Institute of Montréal in collaboration with the Montréal Comics Festival);
- 15 - 30 September in Chongquing, China
October 16-22, on the occasion of Italian Language Week in the world, in: Ankara and Istanbul (Turkey)
October 16-22, on the occasion of Italian Language Week in the world, in Cairo and Alexandria (Egypt)
October 16-22, on the occasion of Italian Language Week in the world, in Beijing, China
from October 17, on the occasion of Italian Language Week in the world, in Sao Paulo, Brazil
October 18-31, on the occasion of Italian Language Week in the world, in New York, USA
7 September - 30 November on the occasion of Italian Language Week in the world, in Melbourne, Australia
- 19 October - 15 December, Chicago (USA), organized by the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago on the occasion of the week of the Italian language in the world
- 15 November 2023 - 1 March 2024, Madrid (Spain), organized by the Italian Cultural Institute of Madrid in collaboration with the Germán Sánchez Ruipérez Foundation.
- 17 January - 26 April 2024, Koeln (Germany)