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Pop Art Design

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The Museum participated in the exhibition Pop Art Design with the console of the electronic Olivetti ELEA9003.


CONSOLE OR CONTROL TABLE, the electronic processor OLIVETTI ELEA9003
Since 1956, the Olivetti Research Laboratory of Electronics began planning a large computer called ELEA9000, (ELEA stands for Electronic Arithmetic Elaborator, later Automatic). It was developed by a team of enthusiastic young researchers lead by Mario Tchou, an Italian engineer of Chinese origins.
Olivetti decided to focus intensely on the machine’s design, building a typewriter that was ergonomic, elegant, functional and easy to use. This part of the project was commissioned to Ettore Sottsass who worked on modular structure; for example, they eliminated the huge cabinets full of components typical of the "old" computers while the hundreds of cables were collected to run through newly designed tubes. With this project - presented in 1957 at the Trade Fair in Milan - Sottsass won the prestigious Compasso d’Oro award.
Elea was developed in four generations called 9001, 9002, 9003 and 9004. ELEA9003 was fitted with the recently transistors. Equipped with multitasking functions, it could run three programs simultaneously. ELEA9003 was equipped with a ferrite core memory and mass memories with magnetic tape. The magnetic tape media could also be used for inputting data after an offline conversion from punched cards or tape.
The production of the ELEA9003 started in 1959 after two years of planning; made of about 40 units, it was installed in major companies in Italy including Marzotto Valdagno (VI) and Monte dei Paschi di Siena.


The exhibition is born from a collaboration between three major modern art museums in northern Europe: the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein (D), the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk (DK) and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm (S). It gathers about 180 icons of art and design from different countries.
The exhibition tells the story of Pop Art in its classical period, from 1956 to 1972, offering a new approach to understanding the creative processes of that time and the interaction between art, design and new emerging forms of expression. Definitions of art and design were indeed merging. In the exhibition you can see how the two ''products '' (art and design) engage in a very tight dialogue reaching the point where it was impossible to distinguish one from the other.
The Pop movement is one of the movements that has most influenced the art but also the post-war society as a whole. In the 1950s America became the centre of the cultural world, setting the lines for a ''new art ''. During this period, artists began to use materials in different ways, discovering new, more flexible and more stimulating materials; artists transformed and mixed many genres (TV comics, advertising logos, packaging) to create new images, new items, new symbols - in short, to create Pop Art!
The exhibition features the works of many artists, defined at the time ''commercial'', such as Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein and the production of imported designers who tried to transform everyday objects into art pieces: ''unique'' yet produced in multiple units and then used by many people. Among these examples are George Nelson Verner Panton, but also Italians such as Ettore Sottsass, Gaetano Pesce, and the Castiglioni brothers who launched the Italian design in the world.

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Pop Art Design
June 29 | September 22, 2013
Moderna Museet
Exercisplan, Skeppsholmen | Stockholm (Sweden)
T +46 8 5202 3503

Electronic processor OLIVETTI ELEA9003

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