On the centenary of his birth, the Mart is devoting to Armando Testa a highly imaginative exhibition that explores the visual universe of one of the most eclectic and fertile minds in the panorama of Italian creativity.

Among the most significant figures in the advertising world of the last century, Armando Testa (1917-92) won himself a place in the collective memory of generations of Italians with his irony, playful spirit and communicative force. The characters and images of his creations have become genuine icons of the country’s postwar visual culture: from the eccentric Caballero and Carmencita of adverts for Paulista coffee to the alluring blonde of Peroni beer, from the synthetic red geometries of Carpano vermouth to the robust forms of the Pirelli elephant.

Drawing directly on the energy and experimentation of the historical avant-gardes, Testa’s inventions were characterized by an extraordinary visionary capacity that took up and reworked the ideas and stylistic mannerisms of the great artists of the 20th century. It is to this universe of references that the exhibition is dedicated: taking the inspiration for its title from something Testa once said, it explores the full range of his work. What emerge are his principal formal themes: fingers and hands, spherical shapes, fantastic animals and worlds, all given expression through a wide variety of methods and media.
Interspersed with some of the most important interviews given by Testa during his lifetime, the exhibition looks at the extremely modern galaxy of “isms” - Futurism, Abstractionism, Surrealism - that Testa was able to interpret in such an exceptional way. The exhibits include sketches, posters, TV commercials, drawings, collages, silk-screen prints and photographs, along with paintings and sculptures.