Pop-up Show: The magic inside books

Among the millions of books that are printed and published all over the world every year, there are some truly special ones, books in which the pages help the reader’s imagination create new magical and spectacular dimensions: they are three-dimensional books, or better, pop-up books.

Books from which castles, magicians, dragons and princesses, knights and pirate ships all “pop out” from the pages, offering fantastic and realistic scenes that enchant and capture the attention of readers of all ages. Elaborate designs and creations well-hidden between the folds of the book, ready to explode at its opening, to amaze us with their ingenious complexity and to fold back and disappear again, with extreme precision, with every turn of the page.

Books with a history: the first titles were published in Europe during the second half of the 1800s, to recreate the optical effects admired in theatrical dioramas and in perspective boxes that had enlivened and entertained many in public squares and courtyards in the previous century.

The exhibition “Pop-up show: the magic inside books” traces some important stages in their history, from the first stories published in the 1800s by great masters of the Press such as Ernest Nister and Raphael Tuck and Sons, to the books made in the recent decades.

Looking closely at the exhibited pages makes it possible to witness the changes, the evolution of three-dimensional moveable paper elements over time and the innovations that some authors have brought to the field, making these paper sculptures even more complex and fascinating.


Among the 130 books on display, chosen from the approximately 5,000 volumes of the Italian collector Massimo Missiroli, we find the works that have made history in the world of pop-up books.

These titles include Pinocchio by Harold Lentz, (USA 1932) which was the first publication to be called a pop-up book, books by the Englishman Giraud, nicknamed “the wizard” for the complex moveable paper elements he placed withinhis books and the extraordinary paper-makinginventionsmade in the 1960’s by the Czechoslovakian artist VojtêchKubaŝta.

In subsequent years, and up to the present day, we have witnessed an impressive and diverse production that has seen important and creative paper-engineers like Robert Sabuda, David Carter, James Roger Diaz, Ron Van der Meer, and David Pelham, who have created hundreds of increasingly complex and refined titles, as well as the more recent addition of moveable books produced by valid contemporary Chinese artists.

Conference: Tabletop Magic–The Art and Theatre of Pop-Up Books (Illustrators Survival Corner, Copyright Zone)
Booth N0.9C02 (Hybrid Zone)

Presented by CCBF and in collaborate with Massimo Missiroli and Matteo Faglia.

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