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Provocative Berlusconi soap goes on show

The alleged Berlusconi soap bar has been an object of speculation for years Keystone

A bar of soap allegedly made of fat removed from Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has gone on show in Zurich.

It is part of an exhibition at the Migros museum of contemporary art, whose news release explains that the fat was removed when Berlusconi underwent liposuction at a clinic in the southern Swiss canton of Ticino in 2004.

An employee of the clinic is said to have given it to the Geneva-based artist, Gianni Motti.

The soap, which is whitish in colour and measures 1.8 by 8.2 by 4.9 centimetres, hit the headlines when it was exhibited at the 2005 Art Basel fair. It was eventually sold to a private collector for tens of thousands of francs.

It has not been seen in public since then.

The clinic has denied even carrying out liposuction on Berlusconi. At the time, Motti said he was ready for a DNA test to be conducted on the soap, and he insisted again in an interview published in the French-language newspaper Le Matin on Friday that the soap was genuine.

The title of the soap exhibit is Mani Pulite – Clean Hands – the expression used for the nationwide Italian investigation into political corruption in the 1990s, in which Berlusconi was also implicated.

The press release says it is “an ironic commentary on a tragi-comic politician who exploits his rejuvenation in the media”.

The exhibition runs until November 28.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR