Modena, the capital city of figurines, presents a major exhibition of over one thousand sports figurines and dozens of albums, together with photo enlargements, videos and animations, in an itinerary of play, installations and multisensory experiences.

All this and more at MATA in the exhibition “The best albums of our lives: figurine stories of myths, champions and failures in sports,” as part of the Festival of Philosophy on the theme of competition.


Sports and figurines are an inseparable combination. And while the older generations will remember the very rare figurine card of Pizzaballa, not everyone knows that figurines were a very effective medium of communication in politics as well, during the Nazi era, with the album of photographic figurines Olympia 1936. Alongside images of phenomenal talents and feats, figurines also democratically made room for amazing disappointments in the world of sports, also on view in the show.

Alongside the memorable events of the Olympics (the ‘winning defeat’ of Dorando Pietri, the perfection of Alberto Braglia, the speed of Nurmi, Zatopek, Mennea and Bolt, the revolution of Fosbury, the 10 of Nadia Comăneci) and worldwide soccer (from Meazza to Piola, Yashin to Zoff, Pelé to Maradona), the show also looks at the social and political aspects of sports (the story of Jesse Owens, Munich ‘72, the protest of Tommie Smith); the famous historic duels (Coppi and Bartali, Mazzola and Rivera, Prost and Senna, Agassi and Sampras); and the cinematic exploits of Johnny Weissmuller, who doffed his swimsuit to dress up as Tarzan, or of the young swimmer Carlo Pedersoli, who later became Bud Spencer.