An Italian tyre manufacturing company that became world-famous probably not because of its tyres… Considered as one of the largest companies at the field, Pirelli & C. S.p.A came up with a new marketing vehicle in 1962 — the company was going to create photo calendars. The very first calendar produced in the same year mainly emphasized Pirelli goods captured on the bodies of models. Since it had little success, marketing specialists suggested that young women should be the center of attention — and they got things going!
Pirelli has been creating iconic photo calendars for more than 40 years (it had a 10-year break). Balancing between art and commercial, Pirelli’s photos today are shown at numerous exhibitions — erotic, smooth, sensuous, bold, even feministic in different years, they all star a woman as a main character. Apart from the quality of tires, that is the only credo Pirelli has always lived.
Whereas the calendar of 2017 features unphotoshopped natural beauty of Hollywood stars and the 2018 edition invites us to join a fairytale, Pirelli’s 2019 concept is about watching, just like in the cinema. ‘The Power of Dreams’ — this is the project name — consists of four series of photos, each of them telling a short filmed (love)story. Each ‘film’ presents a couple, not necessarily a romantic one, with him and her in the leading roles — well, women stand out, of course. We observe the relations of the characters on the photos and figure out a possible plot. Actually, Albert Watson, the author of Pirelli Calendar 2019, suggests particular storylines to the viewer but also gives us some space for imagination.
The character of the supermodel Gigi Hadid has recently broken up with her lover — she enjoys the silence in the glass tower of loneliness together with a good friend who is played by the designer Alexander Wang. (p h o t o)
The actress Julia Garner features a young ambitious photographer taking photos of a model performed by Astrid Eika in tropical gardens of Miami. The photographer craves fame and recognition and practices daily to achieve her goals. (p h o t o)
The characters of the top-model Laetitia Casta and the ballet-performer Sergei Polunin create a romantic couple — she is an artist and he is a dancer which is really close to life as sculpture is Laetitia’s big hobby. They live and work together just like associates. (p h o t o)
In the last story a young dancer portrayed by famous Misty Copeland has to earn money dancing in a nightclub, yet she dreams of being a prima ballerina and finally becomes one, thanks to the support of her boyfriend played by Calvin Royal lll. (p h o t o)
The 2019 Pirelli Calendar can be deemed both cinematic and photographic, either way it’s gorgeous. Consisting of different stories, the project clearly conveys its main message: to stay true and follow one’s aims, supporting other people on the way to their dreams. Just like Albert Watson said: ‘To make a dream come true, you have to work hard <…>. I think it’s always worth giving yourself increasingly ambitious goals’.
The exhibition ‘Albert Watson. Dreaming. Pirelli Calendar 2019’ is on at the Multimedia Museum Moscow until May 12, 2019.