Napoli: Teatro Comunitario, 1969. Offset. Single leaf measuring 35 1/2 ft x 7 1/8 in; in an accordion fold, producing 62 pp, each 7 1/8 x 15 3/4 in. Text in Italian. Very good; edge-wear to first and last cover pages, first fold slightly detached at lower edge. Item #6570
An extraordinary work that opens up to 35 1/2 feet long by 7 1/8 inches, pushing at the forms and conventions of theater, performance, and the book, designed and orchestrated by the anarchist and artist Toni Ferro. “Proposed” by Teatro Comunitario at the Belgrade International Theatre Festival in 1969, the work is a striking accordion publication – part theatrical cue sheet, part artists’ book.
Ferro, then a set designer by trade, was an active anarchist organizer in Naples throughout the late 1960s and ‘70s. A participant in the international anarchist congress held in Carrara in 1968, he played a significant role in the unrest that year following the state massacre in Naples, and organized street theater and happenings during the uprisings. After a vicious attack by Italian fascists in 1972, Ferro would recede from political organizing until the 1990s, though he would remain an active and experimental artist, participating in international mail art circles, and editing Peresempio, an “international review for poetic research in anthropological art.”
An avant-garde theater troupe from Naples, Teatro Comunitarion was formed by Ferro and his comrades, and looked to experiment beyond the formal elements of a performance, into the integrity of theatrical structure itself. This work, which appears to be as yet collected by institutions, serves as an audacious illustration of their ambitions. Most of the book is a theatrical cue and run sheet, usually reserved for the strict technical procedure of a play, here stretching over thirty pages, with poems, drawings, snippets of theory, and haphazard plans for lighting and sound; sections of the technical sheet are obscured by photographs of political figures and members of the group.
An exceptional artifact of avant-garde anarchist art from Italy in 1969, an underdocumented moment in Italian political art and unfortunately all too relevant today as a wave of fascism rises again.
Not located in OCLC as of April 2023.