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Senior Editor
Greg Stuart

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Milan-born artist Patrick Tuttofuoco has been given a very special mission for this weekend – creating the trophy that the Italian Grand Prix victor will hold aloft on Monza’s iconic podium. And it’s a project that he tells me has been “epic”, when we speak in Pirelli’s motorhome in the Monza paddock ahead of Sunday’s race.
The chance to create an original Formula 1 trophy is an exciting challenge for any artist. And when the sprightly 48-year-old Tuttofuoco was asked by the curator of Pirelli HangarBicocca – the Milan-based, Pirelli-backed non-profit foundation created to promote contemporary art – to design and make the trophy artwork, he didn’t hesitate.
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“I was like ‘of course!’” Tuttofuoco says, “because I’m in a way trying to push my boundaries. I’m used to staying in a museum, in a gallery… I never expected such a great visibility.
“I tried to turn the art into a prize, and I accepted it like every challenge – and this is the result.”
An artist he may be – but when he was coming up with concepts for the trophy, it was the world of science from which Tuttofuoco took his inspiration.
“Of course, I’ve been inspired by many things, because this world is full of inspiration,” he says. “But the thing at the end that I decided to have in mind was the very concept of time. [In Formula 1] they play with little fractions of time and the title of this trophy – to me, it’s a sculpture, basically – is Eon. It’s the name of the element in which we count the ages of the Earth, so it’s time that goes way beyond the measurement of human beings.
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“So I played with the Mobius strip, which is a topological shape that has no end. It’s one of the most powerful representations of the cycle of time, the repeating cycle of time, the cyclical part of time.
“So there is this element going on, and then we have the element of, of course, the circular idea of time, like the snake eating itself, and there is this also this presence of the circle in the tyre – but not because the project was supported by Pirelli! The idea of the tyre, it’s the very basic concept of going, of moving.”
Tuttofuoco – “it means ‘All Fire’,” he proudly tells me – also eschewed the idea of using the green, white and red of Italy’s Tricolore flag in favour of something equally as scientific.
“The direction in which time goes is the first law of thermodynamics, which is called the ‘Arrow of Time’,” he tells me. “So I started from the warmest colour possible, and I made a shape that was going towards the coldest. So again, it’s time, it’s an infinite cycle.”
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Tuttofuoco is a proud Italian. Surely, I ask him, it will be an emotional moment to see his work held high by the victor of the Italian Grand Prix, on the 100th anniversary of Monza, and in the year of Pirelli’s 150th anniversary, all just a few kilometres away from where he was born?
“Of course!” he says, excitement twinkling in his eyes. “It’s a huge emotion! As I said, I’m a bit outside of my regular boundaries, but into a field where everything is exciting around. Then there is also the fact that this is the result of a huge effort, not only the [trophy] but the huge reality that is behind it. So that moment will be super epic! And to be part of this epic tale is amazing… Formula 1 is the best, the maximum you can have.”
For more on Pirelli’s 150th anniversary, click here. And to find out more about Pirelli HangarBicocca, head to the official website.
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