Curated by the renowned architect Lord Norman Foster, the exhibition is divided into five chronological segments. Around 40 iconic car models and more than 400 works of art tell the story of the car’s evolution and how it has interacted with history as a whole. There are paintings and sculptures from some of the best-known artists in the world, as well as photographs and audio-visual displays. All these come together to recount the history of cars in a fascinating and evocative way. Among these are some original Pirelli advertisements sketches selected, together with the curator of the exhibition, within the historical heritage preserved at the Pirelli Foundation which today show how advertising has evolved over the years thanks to the Italian manufacturer’s innovative campaigns dating from the 1950s and 1960s.
Pirelli commissioned a number of well-known Italian graphic artists at the time, such as Armando Testa and Ezio Bonini, translating a passion for cars into a strikingly visual format. Other foreign artists followed suit, such as Pavel Michael Engelmann, Alan Fletcher and François Robert, and their works are also featured as part of the exhibition within the stunning Guggenheim collection in Bilbao. Their works tell historical and artistic pages that in those rooms don’t fear the parallel with some of the most unforgettable cars portrayed under artistic lights by greatest names in arts, such as Andy Warhol and Ken Adam. Pirelli’s iconic skyscraper in Milan – the company's first Headquarters – is also featured in the show, represented through a drawing of the building plan and a photographic reproduction of an original from the Pirelli Foundation.
It’s now time to speak also about the other “Pirelli Art”: in addition to that told by works, paintings, sketches and photographs, there is also the art connected to Pirelli's absolute protagonist: tyres. Pirelli Stelvio Corsa tyres are on the Ferrari 250 GTO owned by Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, which is displayed in the Gallery of Speed. These tyres form part of the Pirelli Collezione range, a family of tyres dedicated to the most famous cars produced between 1930 and 2000, which combine vintage looks with modern technology.
Art in all these different forms plays a key role in making the automotive industry what it is today, which Pirelli has been associated with since the beginning of the twentieth century, between innovation and technology, high performance and adventure, on the road and track.