A just-released book by late Italian designer Vincenzo Scarpellini shows pictures of the city, in pastel.Â The pictures by Scarpellini show a city that is invisible to most of the residents of the city, who walk its streets in a hurry. They, however, may be seen by foreign visitors, who are enchanted by angles of buildings, modernist architectural images and the riches of characters of the metropolis – some renowned, others anonymous.
The work is called San Paolo, Desenhos e prosa da cidade (San Paolo, Drawings and prose of the city). Published by Publifolha and sponsored by company CA Brasil, in the area of technology, the 176-page book is being sold in bookstores all over the country.
The artist, as journalist Gilberto Dimenstein wrote in the preface of the book, rediscovers São Paulo. "When reanalyzing the history of this city, especially at the moment of rediscovery, the drawings by Vincenzo should be among the main registers," he wrote.
In Scarpellini's work, readers should also find scenes of the center of the city, where the artist lived and which he loved. Building Copan (designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer) and Itália, a symbol of the city, are among the sites depicted. Added to them may be Pacaembu stadium, Congonhas Airport, and other important buildings for São Paulo, like the Louvre and Bretagne, also in the central region.
Alongside the architecture and large constructions are characters of the everyday life, like the owner of a second hand bookshop and her cat, the caretaker of a building and characters like renowned architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha.
All the drawings in the book were initially drawn between 2000 and 2006 and, originally, published in the Urbanidade column, in newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, in the Daily section. They are images of the city, situations carefully chosen and lapidated by the artist – or simply "the impression of an instant, a chronicle of the moment", as written by art critic Jorge Coli.
Alongside the drawings are four-line long texts, true poems in prose. The artist's own style that marked his collaboration with the newspaper. The drawings, sensitive, intelligent and daring, contrasted with the pages of the paper, full of news about the city of São Paulo. And readers noticed the importance of such contrast, "a breath for the page", as the artist liked to say.
Among the sceneries identified by the foreign eye of the artist is restaurant Almanara. The following text accompanies a drawing of the Arab downtown eatery:
"It is said that the restaurant arose where there used to be a night club. The music is still in plain evidence. The theme of the decoration, on the floor and engraved walls, in the mirrors and in the counter greatly pleased Matisse: lozenges. They have a sonorous cadence that absorbs and dominates the space, reverberating in the curved woods. It is the 1950s in great shape."
Vincenzo Scarpellini had natural and discrete elegance. He loved things intensely, gleefully and substantially. He spoke lightly, and enjoyed sharing what interested him. He lived in Brazil for ten years and was passionate about the city of São Paulo. Graduated in Journalism and Design in Italy, he taught at Luiss University, in Rome, and at the Instituto Europeo di Design, in São Paulo.
He was also the director of newspaper Il Manifesto, an important Italian publication. In 1996, he adopted Brazil and, before working for Folha de S. Paulo, he redesigned the appearance of magazine Manchete, in Rio de Janeiro, and developed the graphic concept of publications A&D and Nova Beleza, by publishing house Abril, in São Paulo.
As an artist, Scarpellini promoted four individual exhibitions. During his life, his works were exhibited at Caixa Cultural (2002 and 2005), in São Paulo, at Palazzo dei Capitani (2005), in Italy, and in the exhibition area of restaurant Panino Giusto (2001), also in São Paulo.
After his death, at the age of 41, in July 2006, there were two posthumous exhibitions in the city. In 2007, at Salve Jorge bar, in honor of the artist and more recently, Quaderni di Viaggio, in January 2009, at Caixa Cultural. The works exhibited were drawings of the city of São Paulo, nudes and drawings of trips.
Scarpellini also has another two drawing books published: Trânsito (Traffic) and Vidas (Lives – both by Ateliê Editorial, 2005). He also has works for children published by Harbra.
San Paolo, Desenhos e prosa da cidade
Author: Vincenzo Scarpellini
Publishing house: Publifolha
Sponsorship: CA Brasil, Lei Roaunet
Price: 39.90 reais (US$ 19.70)