Title: Montreal's public private eye
Pages: 56 - 59
Author: Lydia Ferrabee
Montreal's Public Private eye
Lydia Ferrabee discusses the work of Vittorio Fiorucci, a Venetian Montrealer who expresses in posters a personal, anarchic and humourous reaction to life, believing that mental conflicts should be made public.
Vittorio Fiorucci is a Montrealer who designs posters. Since he came to Canada from Venice 19 years ago he has been watching and commenting on the jokes in urban North American life. On attitudes, pretences, fears and hypocrisies - whether they are political, social, sexual or personal. Jokes are everywhere if you can keep up with him, or if he has the patience to explain the ones you miss. He draws in what is left over of his time "after a full day of looking around," and he prefers to get ideas while speeding around Montreal in his Alfa Romeo rather than sitting in a studio.
Fiorucci chose to design posters, instead of becoming a painter, because he considered posters to be more effective. For him, "your mental conflicts might as well be in the street as in your room, or a museum." Unfortunately his efforts to enliven the streets of Montreal are at present thwarted because the city now fines anyone who attaches posters to fences around construction sites and other convenient surfaces; and, unlike Europe, there are no alternative surfaces for those who cannot afford expensive bill boards. So, ironically, his work often ends up in exhibitions. But, even in Montreal's Museum of Contemporary Art, Fiorucci managed to provoke a skirmish. The museum director wanted to take down a poster he had designed for a recent exhibition by the sculptor Robert Roussil, and some of the artists attending the opening objected.
Many of Fiorucci's posters - "Keep the Atom Bomb White," for example - are badly received in the United States. But when the message is blunted and the posters can be discussed and judged primarily in terms of their high graphic quality they have been enthusiastically accepted. In New York he has two posters in the permanent collection of graphic art at the Museum of Modern Art; is represented at the Triton Gallery, who are holding an exhibition of his posters this autumn; and, in 1968, the Art Directors Club of New York also
Caption page 57: Posters by Vittorio Fiorucci, below, have a seductively pleasant way of making harsh points His designs are personal statements even when he is working on specific commissions - for instance for the Triton Gallery, (1.), (3.). Posters for La Place du Soul, a Montreal R&B club, (2.) and overleaf, show a vivid involvement in colour/ sex relationships.
exhibited his work. His posters have won thirteen Graphica awards and certificates of merit in the last three years, and he was awarded third prize at the International Exhibition of Film Posters in Czechoslovakia in 1964.
Fiorucci finds his statement posters difficult to sell, although he is sure that some day they will be in great demand (at one dollar each). At the moment Fiorucci usually has to pay for their production himself, and he is left with a backlog of unprinted work. So for a living (he claims he would do anything in art for a Ferrari) he has taken on a wide range of design projects. He produces posters for art exhibitions, for theatre productions and experimental films. He has worked as a cartoonist for political publications and tv. He has been art director of the Theatre de la Place Ville Marie, the International Film Festival in Montreal, the ill-fated political and literary magazine Exchange, and for Quebecair and Corpex (annual reports and letterheads). More recently he has been a lecturer on communication media at Sir George Williams University in Montreal and consultant at Laval University in Quebec City.
Fiorucci is also well known as a photographer. He had three prints in the International Exhibition of the World's Greatest Photographers at Eastman House, Rochester, NY, in 1958, and is represented in both permanent and travelling exhibitions by the National Film Board of Canada. His work is also included in the photography pavilion at Expo 70. At present he is working on two short films, a book of photography on women, and a cartoon book which attempts to show the lives of three men living on different levels of a rock.
Caption page 58: Man in his environment is a staple part of Fiorucci's inspiration. To cut down a tree, (1.), you must also cut man's umbilical cord. Black and white meet on uneasy terms in Place du Soul posters, (2.), (4.), and a priest promoting "New Quebec," (3.), is ominously headless. Censorship and pornography are seen either as a lampoon of fashion, (5.), or a decorative fantasy, (6.). "Keep the atomic bomb white," (7.), is the kind of "message" poster that Fiorucci produces for his own satisfaction.