In 1968, Fiorenzo Fallani opened his serigraphy atelier in Venice, where he imported a brand-new US printing technique to Italy. Over the decades, more than 200 world-renowned artists and promising contemporary young art talents visited the place, where they found a fertile environment to test their ideas, attentively interpreted by Gianpaolo himself.
Tell us about the story of Fallani Venezia.
The atelier of artistic serigraphy was established by my father, Fiorenzo Fallani, in 1968. Over fifty years activity, more than 200 artists worldwide came to work in this atelier to create more than 100 graphic works. Today, Fallani Venezia are carrying forward the production of serigraphy graphic works, making their technical expertise available to painters, illustrators, photographers, and artists from all sectors, who can experiment with the diverse possibilities offered by this printing technique. Workshops, residencies and courses on different levels, joining training and dissemination with production, are also available. Fallani Venezia is proud to be a cultural space where people can meet, present their books, get in touch with artists, and enjoy music.
Over fifty years activity, more than 200 artists worldwide came to work in this atelier to create more than 100 graphic works.
The relation with artists is paramount to obtain best results.
What was your training and how did you decide to pursue your family’s trade?
After graduating in Applied Arts, I started working within the family company, which in those days was mainly active in photolithography, a process that turns images (photographs and slides) into facilities for photo-printing. Year after year, with the digital switchover, the company evolved and introduced large-format digital printing and, on the onset of the new Millennium, created, alongside Gruppofallani, a sector dealing with exhibition installations.
Up to 2012, I took charge or the production department, then I decided to go back to Venice to dedicate myself to the artistic serigraphy laboratory which had always been continued by my father over the years. I really felt bad at the idea that such legacy of knowledge could be lost and forgotten.
In 2019, Fallani Venezia had to leave its historical headquarters and move to a new space, still in the heart of Venice.
What does the serigraph technique consist in?
Serigraphy is a screen printing technique based on a very simple process: the matrix is the serigraphic frame, namely a wood or metal frame supporting a polyester fabric (formerly a silk fabric, as the word serigraph suggests). By means of a photomechanical procedure, the image to be printed is moved onto a canvas, thus creating a negative matrix where the fabric meshes where no ink must filter are closed, while those where colour is supposed to flow during printing stay open. During printing, the squeegee (a rubber-coated blade) squeezes ink up and down the frame, thus allowing colour to filter through the pin-holes corresponding to the meshes of the fabric and settle on our sheet.
How do you spread colour? How do you obtain the light and shadow effect? And chiaroscuro?
Spreading colours takes place through the squeegee or Squeezing Padder, a tool made of a handgrip with a rubber blade on it. The ink squeezed on the frame with the squeegee runs through the small holes of the fabric which have been set open by the emulsion, and settles on the paper leaf. Different chromatic and tonal effects are achieved by spreading several coats of different colours and using more or less clear inks, which creates a kind of illusion and “softness” for the eye looking at the final result.
How do you relate to the artists who go through your atelier?
The relation with artists is paramount to obtain best results. You need to win the artist’s trust, letting him or her understand the limits and, above all, the characteristics of the printing technique. To achieve best results, you need to be aware that you cannot just try to replicate the artist’s work and obtain a series of copies, but you need to create a graphic work with a specific identity, within which the artist should nevertheless always be able to recognise himself.