Bruno Munari at the Ara Pacis Museum

It is more than likely that a great many people reading this will have been influenced at some point by the work of Bruno Munari (1907 – 1998), the incredibly prolific Italian artist and designer, through his research into education and stimulating creativity in children. If, like me, you were at primary or elementary school in Europe during the 1970s, you may well have experienced some kind of percolated version of the Munari didactic method.

Steps leading to Museo dell'Ara Pacis
This exhaustive exhibition currently running at the Ara Pacis Museum manages to give the visitor a glimpse into every field of visual arts which the eminently eclectic Munari explored in his long life, with examples of his paintings, sculptures, film, industrial design and graphics on display, as well as a workshop space dedicated specifically to children.

There was so much to enjoy at this show, which is infused with Munari's sense of humour and curiosity, picking out a few favourites is a tough job but here goes...! I particularly liked the late 1950s folded paper models of his Travelling Sculptures with their origami-feel, the 1979 Pre Books for infants consisting of a series of 12 small books made of different materials, and the Tactile Tables of 1991 created when Munari was in his eighties. An inadvertently ironic notice on the wall beside them reads “Do not touch”.

Bruno Munari curated by Beppe Finessi and Marco Meneguzzo is at the Ara Pacis Museum until 22 February 2009.