“A MUSE IN THE WHEELS. PIRELLI: A CENTURY OF ART AT THE SERVICE OF ITS PRODUCTS”: IN ONE BOOK THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PIRELLI AND THE GREAT INTERNATIONAL CREATIVES
THE VOLUME EDITED BY CORRAINI GATHERS 450 IMAGES BY OVER 200 ARTISTS AND ILLUSTRATORS, PROTAGONISTS OF PIRELLI’S COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE 19TH AND 20TH CENTURIES
A SELECTION OF IMAGES AND PHOTOGRAPHS ON SHOW FOR THE PUBLIC AT MILAN’S TRIENNALE MUSEUM UNTIL SUNDAY JUNE 28TH
TALENTS FROM PRESTIGIOUS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS OF DESIGN WILL PRODUCE FOR PIRELLI NEW STORIES AND IMAGES
THE PIRELLI FOUNDATION’S COLLECTION AVAILABLE BY THE PUBLIC THANKS TO AN IMPORTANT DIGITAL PROJECT
Retracing the relationship between art and Pirelli through 450 images – produced between the 19th and 20th centuries – by over 200 internationally famous artists to advertise Pirelli tyres, celebrate the group’s industrial anniversaries and illustrate the magazine “Pirelli”, whose pages, from 1948 to 1972, hosted articles, illustrations and images from the stars of literature, journalism, photography and Italian art. This is the meaning of the volume “A MUSE IN THE WHEELS. Pirelli: a century of art at the service of its products”, edited by Corraini Edizioni thanks to a project developed by the Fondazione Pirelli a curated by Giovanna Ginex.
The volume was presented during an event organized in collaboration with the Triennale di Milano and the Triennale Design Museum and with the patronage of the AIAP (Associazione Italiana Design della Comunicazione Visiva) and with the participation of Marco Tronchetti Provera, Chairman and CEO of Pirelli and of the Fondazione Pirelli, and Antonio Calabrò, executive board member of the Fondazione Pirelli, together with the architect Alessandro Mendini and the designers Leonardo Sonnoli and Andrea Braccalone. The reproduction of a selection of images and photographs among the most significant in the book will remain on show to the public at Milan’s Triennale museum until Sunday, June 28th.
"A MUSE IN THE WHEELS. Pirelli: a century of art at the service of its products" – available in Italian and English – revisits over 448 pages the dialogue with art which, for over a century, characterizes the history of Pirelli. It was an intense and fertile dialogue begun by Pirelli shortly after its foundation when, in 1872, it tasked the painters and designers of the day with the illustration of its industrial spaces. In a short space of time, illustrative skill is combined with innovative advertising campaigns for the company of the long P, a distinctive feature of Pirelli’s advertising beginning from 1907. The most important names in graphics and painting - Marcello Dudovich, Leonetto Cappiello, Marcello Nizzoli, Pavel Michael Engelmann, and then, from the 1950s forward, Bruno Munari, Alessandro Mendini, Armando Testa, Bob Noorda, Alan Fletcher, Riccardo Manzi and many others – characterized Pirelli’s advertising throughout the 20th century.
It was precisely the telling of the product’s story, with the most up-to-date advertising techniques and care for the image linked to deeply innovative style choices, contributed to strengthening Pirelli’s identity as an original protagonist of corporate communication and subtle interpreter of the evolution of the language of art. It is a key cultural role, in Italy and the world, that Pirelli has never abandoned, the products are no longer “told” only in terms of their functionality but also through values, images and stories able to evoke worlds, aspirations and dreams, able therefore to give “a rubber soul” to an object that appears to be “only” round and black. Tradition and innovation, artistic creativity and science are the pillars of Pirelli’s history of communication. It is a great cultural inheritance, brought forward recently by the company magazine ‘World’, which over the last two years has included contributions from celebrated names such as Jacques Le Goff, Eugeny Morozov, Zygmunt Bauman, as well as the more recent edition of the Pirelli annual report, which since 2010 has hosted writers of international note such as Hanif Kureishi, H.M. Enzensberger, Guillermo Martinez, William Least Heat-Moon and Javier Cercas, and illustrators of the calibre of Stefan Glerum and Liza Donnelly, up to Dome, Alexey Luka and Marina Zumi, the three street artists who animated the 2014 annual report with their work.
International graphic talents will produce new Pirelli stories and images
As a part of Pirelli’s ongoing cultural story, a new project is being launched, conducted in collaboration with Corraini and presented during the event at the Triennale. Based on the indications of the most prestigious professionals and teachers of the most important national and international graphics and design schools, Pirelli and Corraini will involve a select team of young talents with diverse backgrounds and skills will produce new representations and stories for Pirelli and its products.
Steven Heller of the School of Visual Arts of New York, Klass Verplancke of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Antwerp, Andrea Braccaloni of the Politecnico di Milano, Georg Barber of the Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule in Halle will indicate the top young talents in the diverse areas of graphics, comic books and graphic novels, street art and digital technologies. The goal is to form a working team, which will also be extended to Asia, with the most promising young talents in these sectors.
The diverse contemporary artistic visions and languages which will be selected with further enrich Pirelli’s archives, housed thanks to the important activity carried out by its Fondazione.
“Pirelli’s dialogue with art and design is always current. This book is a testament to this, as are other recent activities regarding literary contributions, music and theatre, Pirelli Film, the involvement of young artists and famous names to illustrate our annual report, the exhibitions at HangarBicocca and the calendar, an icon Pirelli images and communication. It is a dialogue which has never ended and which today continues also through the new initiative which we are launching together with the great international graphics schools”, said Marco Tronchetti Provera, Chairman and CEO of Pirelli and Chairman of the Fondazione Pirelli.
The Fondazione Pirelli: an archive at the service of the public, today also in digital form
The Fondazione Pirelli houses Pirelli’s artistic and cultural archives, constituted by the files of Alberto and Leopoldo Pirelli, of about 16,000 volumes which compose its technical-scientific library, and documentation, contained in the company’s Historical Archives, of over 140 years’ company history, made of thousands of plans, designs, sketches, posters, advertising and texts which are the fruit of collaboration with writers, designers and artists of world fame. Today, thanks to the important digitization and cataloguing project of the material of the Fondazione Pirelli which it launched when it was born, this collection is even more usable for the general public, cultural institutions, universities, technical schools and schools of every grade and level.
To give an idea of the scale of the project, it regards over 3 km of documentation of the group’s history and activities, an extraordinary patrimony of documents which have been declared national cultural heritage by the Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo and visited by hundreds of people each year at the historic “building 134” at the Bicocca.
For the purposes of labelling and inventory of the company archive, the Fondazione Pirelli in 2014 adopted the open source cataloguing platform xDams, devised and produced for the integrated treatment, management and use of the multi-media historical archives. The project called for the creation of a digital library, with simultaneous creation of a website for access to and consultation of historic documents: photographs, sketches and drawings, company deeds but also documents that are testimony to Pirelli’s research and development activity, films; each document is accompanied by information on the content, authors, dates of production and are searchable by name, date and key words. The inventories of Pirelli’s historical archives are available online in Italian and English at http://search.fondazionepirelli.org.