Franco Grignani (1908-1999) – Multi-sensoriality between art, graphics and photography
Who has never seen the Pure Virgin Wool mark? Designed in 1963, it is the work of a designer who with wit and powerful determination shaped the black and white lines to create a unique and recognizable form. An icon that today we associate instinctively with softness. The author of this sign-image was Franco Grignani, artist, graphic designer and photographer. Or, synaesthetically, all three together, because he devoted incessant research to capturing the hidden nature of forms, investigating the interactions between perceptual processes in solitude. In this way he used graphic design to spread his art, experimented with photography to capture the endless postures of movement, and used art to fix everything in pictorial cycles aimed at conquering the beauty of seeing. Grignani was in effect a precursor and an innovator. Born at Pieve Porto Morone, in the province of Pavia, he graduated in architecture in Turin, but immediately threw himself into the experimentalism of the second wave of Futurism, Geometric Abstractionism and Concrete Art. From his early work, his activity as an artist was filtered through a continuous osmosis from architecture to photography and from graphic design to painting. He was particularly interested in the theoretical and scientific models of communication and visual perception. His pictorial work, anticipating optical art, was devoted to multi-sensoriality based on new visual parameters: for example, virtual forms, realized through direct intervention in the image of physical movements such as rotations, torsions, progressions, accelerations, scissions and deformations; or reconstructed through new perspectives from which to observe the image, as in his reflections on deforming mirrors or paints and metals; or by reconstructing the vision at the edge of the visual field, where the gaze enters a state of sub-perception or passive perception. This research into the dynamics of vision, these “traumas to space”, as Gillo Dorfles termed them, were not limited to remaining visual speculations, but underpinned all his artistic output, photographic research and his work as a graphic designer. The anthological exhibition deals with the complexity of Franco Grignani’s artistic research also by drawing on unpublished archival materials.