top of page

Pippo Lionni wryly explores life beyond words

Universal communication of the facts of life

Artist and designer Pippo Lionni’s Facts of Life graphic-based multimedia project of pictograms and animations wryly explores life beyond words.

Lionni plays on the omnipresence of pictograms directing how we move through the world — such as those on bathroom and airplane-safety signs — and what they mean in terms of universal communication. The resulting project includes books, badges, paintings, and art installations, imagining how the world look if there were such a system reflecting the nuanced variety of real-life experiences.

Streaming Museum presents a collection of work from his Facts of Life (1998 – ongoing) series, and video animations created with code – Freneticology 1 and 2 (2010), Linerunner Small (2010), Roads (2010), Urbanopolos (2007). The exhibition is curated by Céline Jouenne, Director and Founder of Videospread, Marseilles, France.

Pippo Lionni created the font Facts of Life™ in 1999. “The Facts of Life are as much a philosophical inquiry into the meaning of Fact, as a sociological exploration into that of Life. As a restricted number of common symbols compose a language of ideograms or hieroglyphs. The process of rarification is more poetic than mathematical. Statements are constructed from two or more object symbols (man, woman, child, thought, image, word, computer, TV, world …) played against each other by an association symbol (implication, evolution, choice, antagonism, ambiguity and contradiction). Truth emerges from the deciphering process – from the discussion …”

Facts of Life is part of the Linotype Library.

Pippo Lionni was born in 1954 and grew up in a New York family of architects.  He escaped into philosophy and mathematics at Portland State University and New York University and became a designer in the late 1970s, and an artist the late 1990s. During his early years he also played jazz in New York and Paris, where he’s been living since 1981. Lionni was awarded the distinction of « Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres » by French Ministry of Culture in 2001.

His work as an artist (installations, prints, animations, and painting) has been the object of several international exhibitions, in institutions and galleries such as Columbia University and Max Lang gallery in New York, CASZuidas in Amsterdam, PNCA in Portland, Oregon, Galerie Frédéric Giroux, Galerie Artcurial, Espace Modem, Galerie Franck Bordas and Brownstone Foundation in Paris, the Karel de Grote Hogeschool in Antwerp and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Pippo has maintained a continuing interest in design education and research: at Parsons School in Paris (1986-91); Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle in Paris, (1991-98). International public art symposium, Birmingham, 1990; INCSID/San José, USA, (1992); University of Industrial Arts of Helsinki (UIAH) / Finland, (1992); Bilkent University in Ankara, 1993; Ecole de la Cambre in Bruxelles, Belgium, (1993-95); Polytecnico d’architettura in Milan, Italy (1993). He was asked by the Ministère de l’Industrie to research and create a program for graduate research in design (1994-95).

Pippo Lionni & Stickers @ Big Screen Plaza NYC, 2011

Exhibition curator, Céline Jouenne, is the Directing Manager and Founder of Videospread, a non-profit organisation based in Marseilles, France.


bottom of page