alessandro mendini retrospective lands at milan triennale with over 400 works

alessandro mendini retrospective lands at milan triennale with over 400 works

Io sono un drago. The true story of Alessandro Mendini

 

On the occasion of Milan Design Week, the Triennale and Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain are presenting a dual homage to Alessandro Mendini — the architect, designer, artist, and theorist who left his mark on the revolutions in thought and behavior of the 20th century and new millennium. The Cubo space hosts the retrospective exhibition, Io sono un drago. The true story of Alessandro Mendini, staged in collaboration with Archivio Alessandro Mendini, while the Impluvium space, from April 16 to October 13, 2024, displays an installation imagined by Philippe Starck

alessandro mendini retrospective lands at milan triennale with over 400 works
all photos © Delfino Sisto Legnani, DSL Studio

 

 

retrospective and installation at milan triennale

 

The retrospective and installation – two new projects explicitly designed for the spaces of the Triennale – sprang from the close bond between Alessandro Mendini and Triennale and the Fondation Cartier. Among the projects that he created for Triennale were the installation Architettura sussurrante (Whispering Architecture) (1979) as part of the 16th International Exhibition, the exhibition Quali Cose Siamo (What Things we are) (2010), and the Teatro dei Burattini (Puppet Theater) (2015), designed with his brother Francesco and set in the Triennale garden. In 2002, the Fondation dedicated a show to Alessandro Mendini, Fragilisme, that prompted elaboration of a founding concept of his theoretical thinking. Ten years later, he was invited to design the staging of Histoires de voir, to imagine site-specific works, and to participate in the exhibitions that the Fondation Cartier presented internationally. Numerous works by Mendini, presented in this show, are part of the collections of both institutions.

alessandro mendini retrospective lands at milan triennale with over 400 works
Io sono un drago. The true story of Alessandro Mendini | image © Delfino Sisto Legnani, DSL Studio

 

 

Presented with Elisa and Fulvia Mendini, the retrospective is curated by Fulvio Irace with an exhibition design by Pierre Charpin, who has collaborated with Mendini on several occasions. The Cubo space of the Triennale displays over 400 works with different formats, materials, and subjects from many private and public collections, in particular those from Alessandro Mendini Archive, Fondation Cartier, Triennale Milano, Groninger Museum, Vitra Design Museum, Abet Laminati Museum, Alessi and Bisazza. The title of the exhibition, Io sono un drago (I am a dragon), draws on one of the most emblematic self-portraits by Alessandro Mendini and is intended to emphasize the complexity of this figure in the worlds of international design, architecture, and art. The exhibition sets out to restore Mendini’s gaze on the world, his empathy for everyday objects, and the mystery of his artistic philosophy, which can transform even the most humdrum into a surprise that reveals the magic of the everyday.

alessandro mendini retrospective lands at milan triennale with over 400 works
over 400 works by Alessandro Mendini are on display

 

 

an accumulation of thematic nuclei

 

Design-wise, Pierre Charpin interprets the concept of the ‘dragon’ as an accumulation of thematic nuclei that characterize the ‘Mendini method’: an archipelago of islands representing various moments in history and, at the same time, the threads of underground continuity that make it possible to bring a substantial continuity to the apparent diversity of his ceaseless research, based on his own human experience. As visitors enter the large room, they will find themselves immersed in a unique environment, accentuated by a large axis that creates an imaginary link between the Petite Cathédrale and the Tête Géante, with the Muzio staircase in the background: a miniature piece of architecture and a big head to exemplify Mendini’s work on the staircase of perception.

alessandro mendini retrospective lands at milan triennale with over 400 works
the exhibition at the Triennale centers around six thematic nuclei

 

 

The exhibition at the Triennale centers around six thematic nuclei. Identikit, featuring self-portraits that Alessandro Mendini created over the course of his life, using different techniques and formats; La sindrome di Gulliver (The Gulliver syndrome), with a succession of out-of-scale objects, from extra-large ones – such as the Poltrona di Proust and the Petite Cathédrale, both part of the Fondation Cartier collection – to some of the reduced-size ones created for Alessi; Architetture (Architectures), which presents the architectural works of the Mendini workshop, including the Groninger Museum, Mediazentrum Madsack in Hanover, three stations of the Naples Metro, and his most recent works in South Korea, from the Olympic Stadium to the Posco district in Seoul.

 

Fragilismi, a nucleus dedicated to the research that led to the ‘Fragilisme’ exhibition, designed by Mendini on the invitation of the Fondation Cartier — a hymn to the earth’s fragility in a world of war and violence; Radical Melancholy, a section dedicated to the years of radical design, of which Mendini was one of the principal theorists; and Stanze (Rooms), with three of the rooms that he designed — immersive environments where references, memories, dreams and nightmares accumulate.

 

alessandro-mendini-designboom-full

 

The cinema hall, meanwhile, hosts the screening of a documentary by Francesca Molteni, covering the life and works of Alessandro Mendini. Lastly, the show is accompanied by a catalog published by Electa, available in Italian and English: along with a brief description of the works on exhibition and a large selection of photographs of Mendini’s principal projects, the catalogue includes a series of essays by international writers and testimonies by clients and friends who have shared creative design adventures with him over the years.

alessandro mendini retrospective lands at milan triennale with over 400 works
the retrospective is curated by Fulvio Irace with an exhibition design by Pierre Charpin

alessandro mendini retrospective lands at milan triennale with over 400 works
different formats, materials, and subjects from many private and public collections

alessandro mendini retrospective lands at milan triennale with over 400 works
Alessandro Mendini sketch | image courtesy Triennale Milano

 

 

project info:

 

name: Io sono un drago – The true story of Alessandro Mendini 

location: Triennale Milano | @triennalemilano

curator: Fulvio Irace | @fulvoirace

scenographer: Pierre Charpin | @atelierpierrecharpin
produced with: Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain | @fondationcartier

in collaboration with: Alessandro Mendini Archive

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