Bruno Monguzzi [Designer] HAUSER JOHANN [Ein Film von Heinz Bütler]. Arzo, Switzerland, 1987. Original impression. 19 x 26.75 - inch [48.26 x 67.95 cm] trim size image printed via offset lithography on a matte sheet. A single 1.25-inch-long dimple to lower left edge, otherwise a fine, fresh example.
A 19 x 26.75 - inch [48.26 x 67.95 cm] poster designed by Bruno Monguzzi for his longtime collaborator Heinz Bütler. Printed in Italy by Arti Grafiche Nadasio.
“Superficial and stylish graphic designers tend to reduce their syntax to a temporary gospel and spread it everywhere on everything. Good design solutions, however, are probably timeless.” — Bruno Monguzzi
Heinz Bütler (Swiss, b. 1942) is a Zürich-based Filmmaker and Author who has directed 21 films and documentaries since 1980 [imdb].
“Heinz Bütler, the Swiss film-maker, asked for the titles and poster for a documentary he had filmed in a Jewish home for the elderly outside Vienna. The title of the film, Was geht mich der Fruhling an … (What has Spring got to do with me …) was taken from a conversation between Butler and one of the residents, Frau Azderbal. I asked for pictures taken of her during the shooting of the film, and since no close-ups were available, I blew up a small portion of the negative and began to work on the framing of her face. I now had the portrait, but not the poster. What I needed was an image that could tell the story – a picture with the strength of a symbol. I went back to the darkroom, exposed the strong face, laid a narrow strip of cardboard between two film boxes and exposed again without the negative. The diagonal strip of light crossing her face was now telling the story. The words could follow.”
The Erich Lindenberg Art Foundation presented the exhibition Bruno Monguzzi: The fly and the spider at the Museum Villa Pia from April 24 to October 16, 2016. The Foundation also commissioned Heinz Bütler to create a fifteen-chapter documentary film based on Monguzzi’s activities to date.
Bruno Monguzzi (Swiss, b. 1941) studied Graphic Design in Geneva, then Typography, Photography and Gestalt Psychology in London.
“I left for London where I selected a few courses: Romek Marber’s at St Martin’s, Dennis Bailey’s at Central, photography at the London School of Printing. Thanks to Ken Briggs, whom I had also met at St Martin’s and who tried to answer my many questions, I discovered Gestalt psychology and became very involved in the study of visual perception. It is at that point, in 1961, that I started to believe in graphic design as a problem-solving profession rather than a problem-making one and that I slowly began to push away my hidden dream to became another Werner Bischof. It was also at the time that I began to understand and to love the American school: Gene Federico, Herb Lubalin, Lou Dorfsman, Lou Danziger, Charles and Ray Eames.”
“In the second issue of Neue Grafik I discovered the Milanese pioneers – Studio Boggeri, Max Huber, Franco Grignani – and I decided to fly to Milan to meet Antonio Boggeri. I still remember the tiny elevator of 3 Piazza Duse. On the slow, shaky journey up to the sixth floor I felt uneasy. And I felt uneasy for the following two years, having fallen in love with the man, his ideas, the designs of Aldo Calabresi and the office with the balcony overlooking the Giardini. After a few weeks of desperate struggle to be good enough to stay there, I was called for. Lifting his lean, long hands – the most beautiful hands I have ever seen – Boggeri shared with me his theory about the spider’s web. Like the spider’s web, he said, Swiss graphic design was perfect, but often of a useless perfection. The web, he stated, was only useful when harmed by the entangled fly. It was then that my vocabulary began to increase. And it was then that my use of type and pictures began to grow towards more expressive solutions.”
Monguzzi started as an assistant at Studio Boggeri in 1961, became Antonio Boggeri’s son-law in 1974, and curated and designed the Studio Boggeri retrospective at the Milan Triennale in 1981.
In 1971, Monguzzi received the Bodoni prize for his contribution to Italian graphic design and he became a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale in 1979. In 1983, in association with Visuel Design Jean Widmer, he won the competition for the signage system and identity for the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.
Monguzzi was Art Consultant for Abitare magazine from 1986 to 1991. He was the sole designer for Museo Cantonale d’Arte, Lugano from 1987 to 2004. He lives and works in Meride, Switzerland.
All Monguzzi quotes first published in Eye no. 1 vol. 1, 1990.