Art Exhibition in Parma: Carousel Advertising and Television 1957-1977

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Just outside the city of Parma, in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, lies the town of Mamiano. A fascinating new art exhibition will open up at the Magnani-Rocca Foundation exploring the history of advertising in Italy between the years 1957-1977.


The Exhibition

The exhibition, Carosello (Carousel). Advertising and Television 1957-1977 “, will run from 7 September to 8 December 2019. This new exhibition opportunity allows you to continue to follow the evolution of the history of advertising and poster graphics with great designers such as Armando Testa, Erberto Carboni, Raymond Savignac, Giancarlo Iliprandi, Pino Tovaglia, alongside a new media – television – which with Carosello took its first steps in the world of advertising.

Visitors will find a collection of famous posters of the period, along with sketches, and thanks to a series of screens distributed in the exhibition halls, will be able to trace the uniqueness and innovation of carousel advertising inserts. It was a fixed ten-minute advertising slot screened every day at around 8:45 pm from the late 1950’s until the mid 1970’s. At the time, they were bound by strict rules based on both content and length. Thus, a whole new universe of animated characters were born with television.

Carousel advertising, in fact, was also successful because it created and imposed particular characters. These cartoon characters were able to integrate effectively with the mass culture of Italian society. They became “icons”, although without any real depth, even independently of the products from which they were born.


Italy’s Consumer Revolution

The fairy tale consumer revolution of advertising from 1957 to 1977, not only in television, introduced a real revolution in the cultural and visual heritage. Carousel was broadcast in black and white, but for the Italians it was rich in colors. It had the colors of consumption, the colors of a new world of glittering goods that appeared for the first time on the social scene: washing machines, refrigerators, cars, canned foods, etc.

Carousel was not simply advertising, but a fairy tale landscape where happiness and well-being reigned. An extremely fascinating landscape for a population like the Italian one that came from a long period of hardship and poverty. A dreamlike landscape that had a particular effect in small towns, in the countryside and in the most backward regions, where it made legitimate the abandonment of the old peasant culture, in favor of the opulence of the city and its assets of consumption. Carousel taught Italians to live the modernity of the industrial world.

Although constrained by the strict rules imposed by the “puritan” Rai network of the time, it was able to show the gratification obtained in new consumer goods. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the best creatives and the best minds of Italian theater and cinema of the time worked together on Carosello.

Museum Location and Hours

The Magnani-Rocca Foundation is located at via Fondazione Magnani-Rocca 4 in Mamiano di Traversetolo (Parma). The exhibition will run from September 7 through December 8, 2019.

Hours of Operation:

Closed Mondays; Tuesday through Friday 10 am to 6 pm. Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 10 am to 7 pm.

Ticket Prices:  € 12,00

translated text and images copyright: Studio ESSECI