A place open to everyone, to experience contemporary art. A place to become lost in 15,000 square meters of exhibition space, where there are no limits to the imagination. A place that shares its industrial history, while producing modernity. A place where the artist even offers you a cup of tea really does exist, at Pirelli HangarBicocca. This is the focus of the new communication campaign #ArtToThePeople, created by advertising agency M&C Saatchi Milan, under the creative direction of Luca Scotto di Carlo and Vincenzo Gasbarro.In one of the ads created for the campaign we see a man, standing in front of a wide wooden tunnel. Behind him, we read, "Here, seeing art in person will cost you the same as looking it up online". The words looking it up and online disappear behind the man in a special effect. As if everything were intertwined: the work of art, the viewer and the slogan. They interact.
“We liked #ArtToThePeople for how it sounds but also for its content,” explained Luca Scotto di Carlo, “because contemporary art must be made accessible, it somehow has to reach people. This is what makes the Hangar special: it is a vast space, with an incredible visual impact, that paradoxically reduces the distance between the art object and the viewer. With our campaign we wanted to explain why you should go to an art exhibition”. So, another ad created for the campaign shows an installation by Anselm Kiefer “Seven Heavenly Places”, seven towers ranging from 14 and 18 metres in height, soaring towards the sky. The caption reads, “Here, you’ll need a telescope to admire art”.
The museum becomes a territory, a landscape to get lost in, to explore and experience. “Starting with this idea – Luca Scotto di Carlo continues – we decided to express it as practically as possible”. And to do so, they drew from direct experience by visiting Pirelli HangarBicocca many times. “Our approach to the campaign was the same as that of the visitors,” said Vincenzo Gasbarro. “Usually campaigns for art galleries or big fashion labels are not very creative, instead focusing communication on the work, or the clothes.”
#ArtToThePeople, on the other hand, does not take itself too seriously; it literally puts itself in the viewers’ shoes. To achieve this, before starting work on the campaign, Vincenzo Gasbarro asked some of the artists on show to explain their work. One of these was Kishio Suga, the Japanese artist whose work will be on display until 5th February 2017, “Situations,” is his first European retrospective. “Suga talked me through his process,” Vincenzo Gasbarro recalled, “and he said to me: What you see was made here, it is a unique piece. You will never see it anywhere else, just like a sunset. Because every sunset is different. This makes you look at art in a different way, it starts to have a story”. A story made of metal, gravel, concrete and what they form together. The installation is called “Soft Concrete,” which we see in another ad created for the campaign, with the caption: “Here, art is down to earth”. And in a certain sense, semantically speaking, this is true. Kishio Suga made his debut in the 1970s, as part of the Mono-Ha art collective, which translates as “the school of things”.
One of the key words used in the Pirelli HangarBicocca campaign is here. Every caption begins with the word “Here” to introduce informal, direct slogans. “We wanted to present the artwork with slogans that lighten the tone,” said Luca Scotto di Carlo and Vincenzo Gasbarro, “to make the museum a non-intimidating place, that is literally open. We chose to use language that has little to do with the art world. For example, in the ad featuring “Seven Heavenly Places” by Anselm Kiefer we used the word telescope, since it brings lookouts to mind. We looked for key words that speak to people”.
One of these words is tea. In the image we see two young women sitting at a table. The caption reads, “Here, the artist even offers you a cup of tea”. Two letters of the slogan visually disappear into a strand of one women’s hair. The artist offering tea is Laure Prouvost, winner of the 2013 Turner Prize, the prestigious British art prize awarded by the Tate Gallery every year. Prouvost’s solo exhibition, “Grand Dad’s Visitor Center” will be on show until 9th April 2017. Again, the gallery really is open to everyone.
The first time Vincenzo Gasbarro visited Pirelli HangarBicocca he saw Carsten Höller’s Double Carousel. “It made a big impression on me. I was wandering through this huge exhibition space when I found something that could even make a kid become interested in art. And if you go in the morning, on weekdays, or during your lunch break, you’ll see students and all kinds of people. No art gallery has ever done that”. Luca Scotto di Carlo recalls how he felt seeing Anselm Kiefer’s “Seven Heavenly Places” for the first time: “Anywhere else I would have said they are imposing, but here, where there is still space, they become larger than life. They create a sense of openness and freedom. I think it is essential to let artwork breathe and not shut it in”. Here not just the artwork is free but also entry, with free admission for every exhibition.
The M&C Saatchi presentation poster created for the Pirelli HangarBicocca #ArtToThePeople campaign ends with these words, which we subscribe to: “Art’s truest audience is people”.