San Donato Milanese (Milan), 18 April 2011 The travelling exhibition “The six-legged dog: Symbol of past and future,‘ which displays the history of Eni and its trademark, from their origins to the most recent restyling, has travelled to Rome, Ravenna, Stresa, Mantua, Venice, Cortemaggiore, Florence and Milan. The exhibition is now coming to Turin, the capital city of the celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, at Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli (Via Nizza 230) April 21 through May 22.
A vast selection of images, original documents, films, advertisements and memorabilia from Eni’s historical archives and private collections offers visitors an opportunity to discover the history of a great Italian company and revisit the milestones, historic events and changes that have characterised the growth of the company and the country from the 1950’s to the present.
A special section focuses on the history of the competition held in 1952 to identify trademarks for advertising petrol (Supercortemaggiore) and natural gas (Agipgas). This story, reconstructed on the basis of original documentation – made available by the Domus publishing house – clarifies the origins of the “six-legged dog, faithful friend of the four-wheeled man‘ (a successful slogan thought up by Ettore Scola) which has accompanied generation after generation over half a century of history.
The final part of the exhibition focuses on the present, with a work inspired by the six-legged dog by sand artist Ilana Yahav and works by the emerging talents who inaugurated the new season of Eni communications.
The exhibition’s visit to Turin will also offer an opportunity to recall the close connections between two important Italian companies, Eni and Fiat, and the partnership between two important entrepreneurs, Enrico Mattei and Vittorio Valletta. It was the vision of people like Valletta, Pirelli, Mattei and Sinigaglia that formed alliances of decisive importance for Italy’s economic miracle. According to Eugenio Scalfari, it was these captains of enterprise who first brought economic planning to Italy in the early ’sixties: steel, oil, petrol, automobiles and motorways to permit mass adoption of the automobile. With their efficient new service stations and small cars, Eni and Fiat laid the foundations for Italy’s transformation from a farming and manufacturing country to an industrial nation. According on accounts, Vittorio Valletta met Enrico Mattei in 1949 at the inauguration of the Cortemaggiore oil well. From the gas supplies and oil refineries which kept the price of petrol down in Italy after 1955 to the construction of the network of Agip service stations, numerous Eni initiatives helped boost the popularity of Fiat’s cars. Valletta played a key role as mediator between the American companies and Mattei through Fiat’s relations with Texaco. Another area where the two came together was Eni’s policy of seeking to come to agreements with oil-producing nations, in which Impresit, a Fiat subsidiary, wished to work on major infrastructure projects. The partnership between the two managers, their goal of redeeming the country, their forward-looking vision and their temperament gave a big boost to post-war Italy. A special section of the exhibition features images and films from the two companies’ historical archives illustrating the close partnership between the two Italian companies.
On this occasion a short film produced by Eni’s archives in collaboration with Fiat’s archives and the National Business Cinema Archive will look back over the phenomenon of mass adoption of the automobile in the economic boom years through images (many of which have never been seen before in public).