C-mine presents a survey exhibition dedicated to the Italian design legend Enzo Mari
'Enzo Mari curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca Giacomelli' runs from 11 February until 28 May 2023
From 11 February 2023, C-mine will be presenting the exhibition Enzo Mari curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca Giacomelli. Dedicated to the work and ideas of the famous Italian designer, artist and theoretician Enzo Mari (1932–2020), the expo brings never-before-seen projects, models, drawings, films and posters from the Enzo Mari Archive.
Enzo Mari was known for durable and affordable designs for ordinary people. In 1974, for instance, with Proposta per un'Autoprogettazione (Proposal for a Self-Design), he brought a free user's manual for hammering together your own furniture. Equally iconic are Mari's 16 Animali – 16 animals carved from a single piece of wood that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.
Previously shown in Milan during the Triennale Milano 2020, the exhibition includes both a chronological overview of his entire oeuvre as a designer, artist, intellectual and utopian theorist and critic, and a series of contributions from contemporary, international artists and designers invited to honour Mari with new installations. These will include work by the Belgian design studio OpenStructures, Tacita Dean, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Danh Vo, and Virgil Abloh, among others. On top of that, the expo includes a series of documents and video interviews from curator Hans Ulrich Obrist's archive, aimed at highlighting Mari's critical and radical take on design.
After studying at the Academia di Brera in Milan, Enzo Mari began his career. He experimented with new materials and paid particular attention to the functional aspects of furniture. In the 1960s, he thus revolutionised the design world by designing objects 'for ordinary people'. This led to creations that not only stood the test of time, but also stood apart from trends.
But Mari's work goes beyond design; he was also an artist, illustrator and theoretician. He taught at several Italian universities and is the author of 15 explanatory and political books. His works are exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Palais du Louvre in Paris, and the Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Rome, among others. He was awarded the most prestigious award for industrial design – the Compasso d'Oro – on no less than 5 occasions, and was honoured with the Ambrogino d'Oro, the highest award given by the city of Milan.
Louise Osieka, director C-mine:
"With Enzo Mari, we are bringing a design legend to C-mine. Mari's work has not lost relevance over the years. Even today, he can inspire us to design and build ourselves, combining the beautiful with the useful."
The exhibition Enzo Mari curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca Giacomelli was previously presented at the Triennale Milano from 17 October 2020 to 12 September 2021. The exhibition first consists of a historical section, curated by Francesca Giacomelli, with a reissue of the last exhibition project featuring Mari's work between 1952 and 2012, curated by the artist himself in 2008–2009 for GAM (Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea) in Turin. A global project that includes curatorship, exhibition design and a catalogue, it was constructed as a chronological survey of his entire oeuvre as a designer, artist, intellectual and utopian theorist and critic, without distinguishing between different disciplines, media or types of research.
This historical section also includes the Research Platforms, nineteen in-depth studies that provide insights into projects in which the fundamental themes of Mari's research emerge. Sketches, iconographic research, models, prototypes, drawings and notes – many never seen before – from the archives of Mari's studio at Piazzale Baracca in Milan, provide a handhold for understanding as well as admiring Mari's work. A special section is dedicated to Mari's Proposta per un'autoprogettazione (1973), a free guide to hammering together your own furniture using a hammer, nails and wooden planks. Not just a do-it-yourself kit, but a revolutionary project in which he uses an elementary technique to invite everyone to carry out the exercise, to look critically at current production methods and disposable society.
Hans Ulrich Obrist
The historical section is complemented by a series of contributions from contemporary, international artists and designers invited to honour Mari with new installations, including Belgium's OpenStructures, Tacita Dean, Mimmo Jodice, Adrian Paci, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Nanda Vigo, Danh Vo, and Virgil Abloh. On top of this, the expo includes a series of documents and video interviews from curator Hans Ulrich Obrist's archive, aimed at highlighting Mari's critical and radical take on design. This part of the exhibition is the result of the intensive dialogue between Mari and Obrist – also a renowned name in contemporary art – in which more than 60 years of art and design, architecture and philosophy, education and graphics are scrutinised.
International exhibitions at C-mine
With this exhibition, the artistic site continues the momentum of large-scale international exhibitions (The World of Charles and Ray Eames; The World of Tim Burton; Tim Walker: Wonderful Things; Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People).
"C-mine and City of Genk have made a name for themselves in the design field over the years. As a city, we want to continue to invest in attracting renowned, international exhibitions. This way, we can continue to inspire our young designers and the people of Genk."
— Anniek Nagels, Alderwoman for Culture
Enzo Mari curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca Giacomelli
11 February 2023 – 29 May 2023
Expo spaces C-mine, Genk
Info via C-mine.be
Thursday, February 9, 11am
Please confirm your attendance by 31 January via [email protected]
+32 (0)476 57 37 82