Triennale Paints a Portrait of the Enigmatic Alessandro Mendini in New Retrospective Exhibition

The show features over 400 works, spanning painting, sculpture, installation, film and more.

Art
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Coinciding with the ongoing Salone del Mobile, Triennale di Milano is hosting one of the largest retrospective exhibitions to date on the late artist, designer, architect and editor, Alessandro Mendini. Produced in collaboration with Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Io sono un drago (I am a Dragon) is a self-portrait of the many faces of one of Italy’s preeminent creative forces of the past century, featuring over 400 works, spanning painting, sculpture, installation, film, drawings, as well as architectural and interior design work and his impact across publications Modo, Casabella and Domus.

The term creative polymath has become somewhat overused in the present, but Mendini, alongside fellow Italian giants, such as Ettore Sottsass, defied categorization as they produced some of the most radical and free-thinking designs of the 20th century — paving the way for the creatives working today. Never adhering to one medium, Mendini is known for his youthful design philosophy, one that stems from his “long childhood” that carried on into old age, according to a past interview. The Triennale exhibition sufficiently captures this air of exuberance, from the giant iteration of Mendini’s iconic Proust Chair (1978) that greets visitors at the entrance to a mini cathedral home to the muses that guided the artist over his 60 year career.

Standouts in the show include Mendini’s intricate spin on homeware, from the Moka Alessi Coffee Maker (2011) and collaborative works with Italian furniture brand Kartell, to paintings and sculptures that are personified to humorous and imaginative levels. “The objects are like personalities,” Mendini mused in the past, “all my objects are like characters. One is good, another one is bad. It’s a kind of comedy and tragedy.”

Those in Milan, Io sono un drago (I am a Dragon)[gallery columns="3"] is on view at Triennale until October 13, 2024.

Triennale di Milano
Parco Sempione
Milan, Italy

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