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(Emma Hameau / McGill Tribune)

Vittorio brings posters to life

a/Art/Arts & Entertainment by

Montreal Through The Eyes of Vittorio celebrates Vittorio Fiorucci (1932-2008), an Italian poster artist who established himself in Canada in the early ‘50s and whose work is now internationally renowned due to its iconic artwork and designs. The exhibit opens with a statement from Vittorio dated shortly before his his death

“There are those who say that a poster is not art,” the statement reads.”Personally, I’ve always felt it is the art form closest to people.”

These words set the tone for the entire exhibit—a beautiful collection of some of Vittorio’s most iconic works; posters that not only send a message to the viewer, but are captivating for the eye to behold.

The exhibit includes posters, prints, illustrations, and photos where viewers can rediscover momentous events of Montreal’s past. The exhibit is divided into sections that revolve around some of Vittorio’s many passions: Friendship, women, film, cars, contemporary dance, theater, music, and a wide variety of the graphic arts. Vittorio was seemingly a man who followed his heart, and his through his posters, viewers can get an idea of the complexities and dichotomies present in his work. There is a multicultural element in all of his work, which draws on his background. Throughout his life, Vittorio had a deep affection for Montreal, a city that gave him many opportunities to express his personal vision as an artist.

Vittorio’s brightly coloured prints are synonymous with the social changes of the latter half of the 20th century and his prints capture the essence of graphic design. One of the most striking aspects seen though his prints is his amazing eye for colour and the elements of design. His graphics are bold and playful, demonstrating his talent in many different art fields. Vittorio was also a skilled photographer and illustrator in addition to his success in advertising. At the 1998 International Advertising Awards in Chicago, Vittorio was awarded the Moebrius Award, as well as a lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Association of Photographers and Illustrators and the Institute of Design Montréal.

Through Vittorio’s posters, viewers can see traces of Montreal’s evolution as a city, with the growing cultural significance and expanding influence of cinema in the 1960’s. In fact, Vittorio created many of the posters for independent Quebecois films in his role as the artistic director of the 1965 Montreal Film Festival (MIFF), which was established in 1960 in opposition to censorship in film. Vittorio embraced cinema, dance, and theater, and viewers can feel a similar energy in his designs.

Vittorio’s sense of humour is reflected through his posters, which often have a comedic element running through them. He stated in 1968, “I’m a poster designer, not a painter, and deep down I’m a comedian. What’s really great is if a poster of mine can get a guy to think as well as make him laugh.” This statement embodies the sentiments behind Vittorio’s designs and his artistic vision. Many of his posters carry multiple messages, drawn together at the core by his exuberant passion and zest for life.

Vittorio’s artwork is a testimony to liberation and his open-minded lifestyle. The vibrant colours interact in a playful and meaningful way for the viewer, and this exhibit is a lovely way to honor his lifetime of achievement. Vittorio believed in the power of embracing his inner child, and he invites viewers to do the same.

Montreal Through The Eyes of Vittorio will be on display from September 25, 2015 – April 10, 2016 at the McCord Museum (640 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest). Admission fees for students are $7.50 on Wednesdays, and $14 on all other days.

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