Enzo Mari curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca Giacomelli

A temporary exhibition examines over 60 years of activity of one of Italy’s greatest masters and theorists of design

By Triennale Milano

Enzo Mari curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca Giacomelli (2020)Triennale Milano

The Enzo Mari curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca Giacomelli exhibition is devoted to the work and ideas of Enzo Mari, one of the most important designers, artists, critics and theorists.

The show includes projects, models, drawings, and materials, many of which have never been shown before.

44 Evaluations (1976/2008) by Enzo MariTriennale Milano

The exhibition has emerged from the incessant dialogue and exchange of ideas over the years between Mari and the curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, looking at more than 60 years of art and design, architecture and philosophy, teaching and graphics.

The exhibition project is divided into four sections.

Enzo Mari curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca GiacomelliTriennale Milano

The historical section

The historical section, with the objects displayed on white bases, starts with a new display of the artist’s last exhibition project, Enzo Mari. L’arte del design, held at GAM, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, in Turin in 2008-2009, a global project that Mari himself prepared and curated, and for which he edited the catalogue.

The exhibition features a selection of about 250 of Mari’s projects, the most representative works of the nearly 2,000 he has created during his career.

The works are shown in chronological order, without distinguishing between disciplines, media, or types of research. A selection of works created after the Turin exhibition is included for the Triennale exhibition.

Enzo Mari curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca GiacomelliTriennale Milano

Research Platforms

At the same time, nineteen Research Platforms, specially created for the Triennale exhibition, give insights into the individual projects that have given rise to the key themes of Mari’s artistic vision and practice: his initial investigations of perceptual ambiguities, his research into experimental production, his studies of mass-production, the theme of standards, and so on.

The archive items are displayed on tables built according to the one of Enzo Mari's best-known projects: the Self-design proposal.

Enzo Mari curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca GiacomelliTriennale Milano

Vodun: African Voodoo, installation at Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain

In the exhibition is presents one setting of the spectacular design for the exhibition Vodun, African Voodoo (2011) designed by Enzo Mari for the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris.

Because they are the guardians of the houses, they are placed next to the entrance doors.

So Mari, with powerful formal references to the structures of the models that form the Proposta per un’autoprogettazione of 1974, designed the universal idea of a house, recognizable in all cultures, and made eight of them in a circle reminding the square of the village.

Enzo Mari curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca GiacomelliTriennale Milano

The brutalist stair

The third section, displayed on the brutalist stair, includes a series of video conversations between Enzo Mari and Hans Ulrich Obrist, between 2002 and 2016, that illustrates the incessant dialogue between the two intellectuals.

Lo zoo di Enzo (2020) by Nanda VigoTriennale Milano

Artists on show

A series of contributions from international artists and designers – who have been invited to pay tribute to Mari with site-specific installations and new, specially commissioned works, is integrated on the exhibition: Adelita Husni-Bey, Tacita Dean, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Mimmo Jodice, Dozie Kanu, Adrian Paci, Barbara Stauffacher Solomon, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Danh Vō, Nanda Vigo, and Virgil Abloh for a merchandising project.

One contribution in particular is that of Nanda Vigo, whose work, made specially for the exhibition shortly before her death and never shown previously, uses light to reinterpret 16 animali and 16 pesci, two of Mari’s most famous works thus making an “Enzo’s zoo” for both children and adults in the atrium of Triennale.

Discover more about Artists on show

Credits: Story

President: Stefano Boeri

Artistic Director: Lorenza Baroncelli

curated by: Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca Giacomelli

Assistant to the Curators: Marilia Pederbelli

Exhibition design: Paolo Ulian

Graphic design: NORM, Zurigo

Site specific artworks:
Tacita Dean
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster
Adelita Husni-Bey
Mimmo Jodice
Dozie Kanu
Adrian Paci
Barbara Stauffacher Solomon
Rirkrit Tiravanija
Nanda Vigo
Danh Vō
Virgil Abloh (per il progetto di merchandising) / (for the merchandising project)

Video interviews editing: Claudia Ferri

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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