All the shows at the 23rd Triennale Milano International Exhibition
Salone del Mobile.Milano is the institutional partner of Unknown Unknowns. An Introduction to Mysteries, curated by the ESA astrophysicist Ersilia Vaudo and the architect winner of the Pritzker Prize 2022, Francis Kéré
The 23rd International Exhibition opens at Triennale Milano on 15th July 2022. Salone del Mobile.Milano is the institutional partner of the event, which is held every three years and puts the spotlight on the most cutting-edge design themes with a packed palimpsest of exhibitions, events and special projects.
This edition, entitled Unknown Unknowns. An Introduction to Mysteries, focuses on the theme of the unknown, a concept harnessed by the team at Triennale Milano with the help of the two main curators, Ersilia Vaudo, astrophysicist and Chief Diversity Officer at the European Space Agency (ESA), and Francis Kéré, winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize 2022, who has devised four site-specific installations that combine architecture and nature. This puts Milan firmly at the centre of the international debate around design, and the Triennale, as a cultural institution devoted to the fields of design and architecture, is emblematic of the values of interchange that the sector has the power to trigger.
The following are all the exhibitions and events being held as part of the 23rd Exhibition until December:
Unknown Unknowns. An Introduction to Mysteries
The thematic exhibition curated by Ersilia Vaudo unfolds through sculptures, images, technologies, experiments and installations, geared to unveiling the mysteries of deep space. Underscoring the dialogue between the pragmatic nature of the sciences and the poetic nature of the arts, a number of works and objects from each field throw different perspectives on the most wide-ranging themes: from slides tracing the future of extra-terrestrial living to tireless study and research into space over the centuries, and paintings illustrating the evolutions of astronomy right up to materials championed for interstellar travel. The exhibition is located on the first floor of the Curva and the display elements were 3D printed by WASP to a design by the Space Caviar studio – led by Joseph Grima and Sofia Pia Belenky – using waste material from the agri-food industry.
The rest of the first-floor spaces are taken up by the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain with the exhibition Mondo Reale, curated by Hervé Chandès, Artistic Managing Director of the Foundation. The exhibition features work by 17 artists focused on some of the world’s most extraordinary hidden wonders, a dip into the unknown side of the quotidian, with signed interpretations that interweave different languages – such as those by Sho Shibuya, Jean-Michel Alberola, Guillermo Kuitca, Jessica Wynne and Patti Smith. Moreover, throughout the duration of the exhibition, David Lynch will present his Weather Report each day at 7pm CEST from his home in Los Angeles. The Mondo Reale exhibition was designed by studio Formafantasma, which reused the plasterboard partitions put up for the previous exhibition and employed lightweight paper dividers to split up the remaining spaces, incorporating metal scaffolding and wool rugs where necessary.
La Tradizione del Nuovo
The Italian Pavilion at the Triennale Italian Design Museum contains an exhibition leveraging the archives of past International Exhibitions from 1964 to 1996 curated by the Museum’s Director Marco Sammicheli. Italian design has always been set apart by its explorative and brave approach, at once curious and avantgarde. La Tradizione del Nuovo provides a comprehensive overview of research into what remains as yet unknown in Italian design, which has contributed to the development of society, touching on sociological, commercial, ecological, technological and cultural aspects. The display was designed by Zaven, which opens the exhibition with a tribute to Bruno Munari and Davide Mosconi’s book Invece del Campanello (Instead of the Doorbell).
The Projects of Francis Kéré
Francis Kéré, winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize 2022, curated the displays in the common spaces at Triennale Milano and the installations expressing the voices of the African continent. The first exhibit, a 12-metre-tall tower standing at the entrance to the Palazzo dell’Arte, is decorated with contemporary renditions of traditional architectural motifs from various parts of Burkina Faso. Then, Yesterday's Tomorrow, an installation at the centre of the International Participations section, provides an innovative take on the vernacular architecture of Burkina Faso – a country that is also hosting Drawn Together, a wall-based project that visitors are invited to help create. Lastly, there is an opportunity to relax in the shade of Under a Coffee Tree, an installation created in partnership with Triennale and the Lavazza Group – a tree, symbolic of bringing people together, just as the tradition of coffee drinking does.
Playing the Unknown
Francesco Bianconi – writer, singer-songwriter, musician and well-known frontman of the Baustelle – has composed a song, L’Ignoto (The Unknown), expressly for the 23rd Triennale Milano International Exhibition. The song was then broken down into 61 different parts, which visitors can attempt to put back together in a dark room on the first floor, where there is a faithful reproduction of a Mellotron, a rudimentary sample instrument invented in 1963. Each key triggers a 7-second audio loop and activates a number of monitors at the back of the room, each of which contains a detailed video of the ocean depths, of which we only know 19% - a real, close unknown.
Il Corridoio Rosso
To the left of the ground floor entrance, there is an absolutely faithful reproduction of the red corridor in the middle-class home of the historian and art curator Giovanni Agosti, forming part of a project by Jacopo Stoppa staged by the set designer Margherita Palli. This corridor leads to rooms clad entirely in velvet which, like secret compartments, conceal a number of mysteries in the form of artworks from completely different eras. Here, the unknown becomes the unconscious of the human brain, manifested in the architecture and the arts as if in a Kubrickian production.
Some 23 countries are taking part in this edition of the Triennale Milano International Exhibition, with a strong African contingent, represented by 6 different nations - Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. The cultural traditions and complexity of a society undergoing constant change are reinterpreted – and compared – through the language of design inside Triennale, along with a packed calendar of meetings and events and a dense public programme.
Other Special Projects
That’s by no means all – more special projects and events are filling the spaces of the Triennale – helping to flesh out the – already extremely well-supported - theme of the unknown, protagonist of this edition. Visitors are welcomed at the entrance by Portal of Mysteries, a videoloop installation created by Dotdotdot and curator Emanuele Coccia (who also edited the two catalogues), introducing the exhibition themes. The Milan Polytechnic University’s ABC Department set up the exhibition Alchemic Laboratory with the researcher and lecturer Ingrid Paoletti, which reformulates the categories of inert and live, artificial and natural, finite and renewable in the quest for design materials. The director and artist Romeo Castellucci is also taking part with two projects, there will be a presentation of the film Andrea Branzi. Mostra in Forma di Prosa and the Casa Lana space will come into its own again with a second event in the cycle devoted to Ettore Sottsass. Last, but not least, the Planeta Ukrain project remains ongoing.