Diving into the Fondazione Fiera Milano archive at the Triennale

Photographs, drawings, documentaries and installations: an exhibition curated by OMA's Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli tells the story of Italian industry.

. Edison Montecatini Pavilion at the Milan Trade Fair. Project by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, graphics by Max Huber

“Perspective. Journey through the Fondazione Fiera Milano archives” is an exhibition curated by Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli at the Triennale di Milano, open until January 20th.

The initiative stages of the show walk visitors through a small portion of the vast archive of the Fondazione Fiera Milano, which has been in the process of being digitalized since 2011.

The architect and curator not only extracts episodes or tells the story of the Milanese institution in a linear way, but also conceives an immersive itinerary that interweaves facts and themes, transfers a section of the collection itself in its entirety and includes a 1:1 scale reproduction of one of the commercial offices of the Fiera Campionaria.

Usually considered a remote and inaccessible place, the archive becomes a living, livable and manipulable place under Pestellini Laparelli.

The exhibition celebrates the almost 100-year history of the institution that “makes Italian industry known to the world”.

Pestellini points out that this is also a social and political narrative of the Belpaese: “through the archive you can read all the historical phases of Italy: from the first post-war period until the advent of brands”.

1953. Breda Pavilion at the Milan Trade Fair. Project by Luciano Baldessari with Marcello Grisotti
1953. Breda Pavilion at the Milan Trade Fair. Project by Luciano Baldessari with Marcello Grisotti

If in the history of the Italian twentieth century the Carosello TV programme is the moment par excellence of spectacularisation of products and brands, the Milanease Fair is the physical place where this show materialises, is discussed and deepened.

The exhibition also gives the opportunity to see images and documents in their original context: shelves, displays, catalogs, slides, reels of film...

1953. Tavola illustrata dei visitatori alla Fiera Campionaria. Grafico Ezio Bonini. Pubblicata nella rivista “Fiera di Milano”.
1953. Illustrated table of visitors to the Trade Fair. Graphic designer Ezio Bonini. Published in the magazine “Fiera di Milano”.

In the midst of the chaos to be read, listened to, touched, watched and experienced stands out a video-collage made by Davide Rapp, which has remixed in 12 minutes all the video documentaries produced over the years.

The exhibition is the first in a series of six-monthly events promoted by Fondazione Fiera Milano, AFIP International and Triennale di Milano. The project is an important work of preservation and public restitution of some selected historical archives.

Pestellini says: “the material we have selected creates a very precise bridge between past and present, the archive becomes a tool to talk about and recontextualize our contemporary times.”

Looking at the path that has been taken allows us to see, if not a direction, at least a horizon of possibilities. The title of the initiative is therefore appropriate: Perspective.

Exhibition title:
Prospettiva. Journey through the Fondazione Fiera Milano archives
Curated by:
OMA – Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli
Opening dates:
fino al 20 gennaio 2019
Historic curatorship by:
Fondazione Fiera Milano – Historical archive, Andrea Lovati
Concept and graphic design:
OMA, Inarea
Promemoria Group
Triennale di Milano
viale Alemagna 6, Milan

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