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Pirelli reveals its “Rubber Soul” with an exhibition at Triennale di Milano

Germano Celant: …. “Exhibiting 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”

Umberto Eco: . “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” … “Nowadays everything is multimedia, and in this way looking back on the past can be quite enjoyable”

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.

These spaces house images of Pirelli’s technology, innovation and communications, all of which attest to the continual exchange of knowledge between the different areas of production: from tyres to raincoats, from rubber soles to boots, from bathing suits in elastic fibre to swimming caps and all the other objects which accompanied generations as they dreamed of, prepared for and lived their holidays by the sea.

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”.

The exhibition

The three rooms dedicated to the past are based on the advertising of the time and are developed along two tracks. The first is historical-iconographic:  the exhibition of original advertising artwork, from the 1910s to the 1950s, while the second is technological, with a series of multimedia installations that allow the viewer to relive advertising campaigns of the past in a contemporary key.

Among these, an animation of Bruno Munari’s 1953 advertisement for the Coria sole (also held by MoMa in New York), and an animation of the photo shoot by Ugo Mulas for raincoats, set atop the Pirelli skyscraper, one of Milan’s symbolic buildings. In the room dedicated to the sea, visitors, greeted by an exceptional testimonial for the bathing suits in elastic fibre (Marilyn Monroe, in 1952), will find themselves visually immersed in the sea,  seeing floating above them a number of Pirelli dinghies, while young men and women dive among the waves, wearing Pirelli bathing suits, goggles and flippers, naturally.

A whole room is dedicated to the consultation, both analogic and digital, of Pirelli’s rich patrimony of images, catalogues, posters, magazines and videos which constitute a history of communication in Italy and the world. A consultation both analogue and digital, thanks to the multimedia installation, “the hand operated archive” produced by NABA (New Academy of Arts in Milan). And for the first time, the public can also see full photo shoots for the advertising campaigns, including backstage images.

The room dedicated to Pirelli’s PZero clothing is instead occupied by a 14 metre interactive installation through which the visitor becomes the protagonist in an imaginary universe of gestures, movement and actions represented in the opalescence of a dreamlike world. The fashion is not physical, without substance. The products fade into desires and visions. The images that appear in this large setting talk to us of a world that appears two-dimensional, in which we glimpse people and objects. The rubber ball comes into play and gives this world its incredible properties which permit us to do things that appear impossible.

“L’ANIMA DI GOMMA – ESTETICA E TECNICA AL PASSO CON LA MODA”
(“Rubber Soul. Aesthetics and technique in step with fashion”)

Location: Triennale di Milano, viale Alemagna 6 – Milan

Curator: Fondazione Pirelli

Starting date: 21 June 2011

Closing date: 24 July 2011

Entry: free of charge

Hours: from Tuesday to Sunday 10.30-20.30
Thursday and Friday 10:30-23:00

Set and multimedia planning:N!03

Executive architectural planning: Federico Colletta, CO3 architetti associati

Art direction and graphic planning: LeftLoft

Information: Pirelli Press Office – tel. +39 02 64424270

www.fondazionepirelli.org

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