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Pirelli reveals its “rubber soul” with an exhibition curated by the Fondazione Pirelli and hosted from June 21 to July 24 by Triennale di Milano museum. “L’anima di gomma – Estetica e tecnica al passo con la moda” (“Rubber Soul. Aesthetics and Technique in step with Fashion”) is the title of the exhibition that recounts the history of Pirelli clothing and its advertisements through original artwork and multimedia installations, from the time of the company’s foundation, at the end of the 19th century, to today. Over a century of industry and social customs distinguished by research applied to materials and processes, which characterize all Pirelli’s activities, illustrated across four exhibition spaces: one dedicated to walking (rubber soles and heels), one to clothing (outerwear and raincoats), one to the sea (bathing suits and other products for the beach and water) and one for Pirelli PZero, Pirelli’s current project of industrial design applied to clothing. Rubber takes the starring role and, in the form of small multimedia ball, guides the visitor through the exhibition, it illustrates the properties of a material which, through various processes, becomes tyres, elastic thread, fabric and object.

Beginning with the caucciù tree, “the tree that cries”, whose gum was used by the Maya as early as 500 A.D, the first three exhibition spaces are dedicated to the past using innovative multimedia representations and showing, for the first time since their recovery and restoration, original sketches of the twentieth century advertising for Pirelli signed by leading names in graphic design and photography nationally and internationally: Jeanne and Franco Grignani, Alessandro Mendini, Bruno Munari, Ugo Mulas, Ermanno Scopinich and others. This material, which constitutes an important body of work and is conserved in the Historical Archives of the Fondazione Pirelli, will for the first time be shown in public after its careful recovery and restoration. It will be a “premier” as it was only recently discovered during the archival process, even an advertisement from 1952 with Marilyn Monroe modelling bathing suits in Lastex, an elastic fibre of the time produced exclusively by Pirelli. The last room, in conclusion, is dedicated to the current Pirelli PZero.

The exhibition was launched today by the Chairman of Pirelli and of the Fondazione Pirelli, Marco Tronchetti Provera, and the President of the Triennale di Milano, Davide Rampello, together with Germano Celant, Alessandro Mendini and with a video commentary from Umberto Eco. “Exhibiting – Germano Celant commented – shifted from a “museum-like” collection of objects, exposed and illustrated, to a specific staging, to an exhibiting which is pure non-material communication, fed by highly technological media”. “There are no objects, but representations, so as to shift our focus from the tangible aspects of fashion to the level of dreams: a portrait image of fashion”, commented Umberto Eco, underling that “nowadays everything is multimedia, and in this way looking back on the past can be quite enjoyable”.


Triennale di Milano, viale Alemagna 6 – Milano
June, 21 - July, 24 2011

- free entrance -

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