enzo mari and gabriele pezzini : che fare
gabriele pezzini and enzo mari

enzo mari and gabriele pezzini : che fare
galerie alain gutharc, paris
from january 9th to  february 20th, 2010

the modern movement originated in europe in the 1920s and ‘design’ was originally
practiced by not more than a dozen authors (architects, artists, entrepreneurs ).
william morris and the arts and crafts movement in britain, the deutscher werkbund
and bauhaus in germany, and by the same amount of people in the ’50s in italy.
all were permeated by the utopian ideology of socialism and humanistic culture.
and the public, the customers of that time, understood and appreciated their works.
it was a small avant-garde group, horrified by the ‘art pompier’ and in pursuit of the utopia
of labour as a means for transformation. thus, each designed object was meant to convey
the idea of standard (from the french ‘etandard’), as an allegory of all the values of a society
in transformation. the designers naively thought that the honest intelligence of a product
could positively affect the human needs and therefore the market. this utopian stance was
in line with the post-war atmosphere of reconstruction, shared by all europeans.

by the mid ’60s, first signs of mismatch – with a society (barbarized by weak thinking)
and the global exploitation of the domination of commodities – appeared.  by the ’70s, that
kind of poetics were almost incomprehensible to the most. today we assist to an unstoppable
decay of what is produced. however, even in non-market driven contexts, such as the realization
of museums, essays, ambitious exhibitions, objective criticism seem not emerge.

this is also due to the excessive proliferation of mannerism, unconscious individual precepts
and cynicism. things don’t have to be, they should only appear to be, thus corresponding to
the infinite induced needs imposed by the domination of goods.

this small exhibition stems from the idea of comparing the work of two authors who
have a similar approach to the field and agree upon several aspects in their working
practices, two designers who have been formed in very different periods of time.
what they seek is perfect balance between constraints of marketing, production
and manufacturer’s culture, in an attempt to evolve a form that is efficient and durable- a
standard that survives passing fads and decorative caprices to impose a reference.

enzo mari and gabriele pezzini : che fare
‘putrella’ by enzo mari for danese, 1958

enzo mari and gabriele pezzini : che fare
‘pago pago’ by enzo mari for danese, 1968

enzo mari and gabriele pezzini : che fare
‘box’ by enzo mari, produced by castelli, 1971

‘che fare’ (what to do) – a question without a question mark.

‘does this emptiness refer to my person only?
what are the other million ‘designers’ – most of them young designers- doing?
I guess that all of them want a non-alienated job and I know the majority doesn’t find one.
some designers dream of a possible transformation, …
generally, a product comes to life in the dialogue between a designer and an entrepreneur.
the designer is responsible for the ‘shape’, entrepreneurs are responsible for the
economic aspects of the product’s realization, and also of how to impose it
on a fiercely competitive market.
from my own experience I realized that a good product can be created when a practical
and efficient entrepreneur embraces at least 20% of the designer’s utopia!
this happens very rarely.’
enzo mari

‘che fare’ is an exhibition that bypasses the clichés of the production routine
of objects and wishes to stimulate a critical discussion on the situation of
industrial design today and in general.

enzo mari and gabriele pezzini : che fare

see the designboom photo report on enzo mari’s most recent exhibition
enzo mari : the art of design
at the modern art gallery GAM in turin
october 28, 2008 – january 6, 2009