Enzo Mari, an important master and theoretician of Italian and international design, was born in 1932 in Cerano, in the province of Novara. He studied literature and art at Accademia di Brera in Milan between 1952 and 1956 before becoming interested in the avant-garde movements and in industrial design, starting to work with Danese in 1957. He began teaching in the '60s, continuing until 2000 with prominent institutions such as Politecnico di Milano, where he taught in the Architecture and Design degree programmes. His theories and work made a valuable contribution to the fame of Italian design all over the world. He received a number of important awards in the course of his long career, including 5 Compasso d'Oro awards, the last of which was awarded for lifetime achievement in 2011. He passed away on October 19 in his home city, Milan, only a few days after Triennale di Milano, an important institution in the city, opened a major retrospective of his work, “Enzo Mari curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca Giacomelli”. The exhibition pays tribute to the great master’s career spanning more than 60 years, underlining Enzo Mari’s great contribution to Italian and international design, taking a closer look to offer a new interpretation of his long career. The result of constant discussion and interaction between Mari and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, the exhibition is built around plans, models, drawings and previously unpublished material from the Enzo Mari Archive, recently donated to CASVA - Centro di Alti Studi sulle Arti Visive operated by the City of Milan. The first part of the exhibition is a historical section curated by Francesca Giacomelli and presenting about 250 of Enzo Mari’s projects, items and plans ideally representing the designer’s production of almost 2000 projects, displayed in chronological order, including objects designed for well-known Italian manufacturers such as the Putrella tray or educational toys designed for Danese. The exhibition starts out with a reorganisation of the designer’s last exhibition, “Enzo Mari. L’arte del design” (Enzo Mari: The art of design), held at GAM, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Turin. Enzo Mari curated and designed the exhibition and prepared the catalogue; he discussed it in an interview with Floornature. The second section of the current exhibition focuses on the contributions made by international artists and designers invited to pay tribute to Enzo Mari with site-specific installations.
Another exhibition of Mari’s work is also underway at the moment in Milan: until January 16, 2021, Galleria Milano in Via Turati/Via Manin presents “Falce e martello. Tre dei modi con cui un artista può contribuire alla lotta di classe” (“The hammer and sickle: three ways an artist can contribute to the class struggle”), a faithful reproduction of a solo show Enzo Mari held in 1973, philologically reconstructed in a research project with the involvement of the Archive of Galleria Milano and the Enzo Mari Archive.
Images courtesy of Fondazione La Triennale di Milano
Title: Enzo Mari curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca Giacomelli
Date: 17 October 2020 – 18 April 2021
curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca Giacomelli
Exhibition design: Paolo Ulian
Art direction: Lorenza Baroncelli
Location: La Triennale di Milano, viale Emilio Alemagna 6, 20121 Milanoa Italia
Title: FALCE E MARTELLO - Tre dei modi con cui un artista può contribuire alla lotta di classe
Date: 30 September 2020 - 16 January 2021
Location: Galleria Milano, Via Manin 13, Via Turati 14 – Milano
01 Enzo Mari portrait by Ramak Fazel