James M. Bradburne
Marionette e Avanguardia
When a puppet breaks the "fourth wall"- that is, the capacity for emotional involvement of a successful performance - it wins the trust of the audience, giving the show the power to blur the division between stage and world, between art and life. Understanding this were those artists, leading figures in the world of Art and Figure Theater, who looked to "creative play" as a source of aesthetic inspiration to seek new modes of visual expression.
This volume and the accompanying exhibition Puppets and the Avantgarde. Picasso - Depero - Klee - Sarzi, curated by James M. Bradburne - from November 2023 at the Fondazione Palazzo Magnani in Reggio Emilia - open up a space for the imagination by tracing the cultural and social role of puppets in the European avant garde at the beginning of the 20th century. An itinerary that places alongside the great names of Pablo Picasso, Fortunato Depero and Paul Klee, that of Otello Sarzi, a poetic figure who marked the artistic and educational history of Reggio Emilia. In order to understand their appeal, puppets are examined in the broadest sense: puppets operated from above – common in the palaces of princes and the drawing rooms of the bourgeoisie; and puppets manipulated from below – inhabitants of the popular world of fairs and the public square.