Foto di copertina: Enzo Mari,La Serie della Naturan°1: La Pantera, con Elio Mari, serigrafia su texilina, Danese Milano, 1961.

Hans Ulrich Obrist discusses his approach to an exhibition about “the many faces of Mari” in the first episode of Enzo Mari Costellazione

November 5, 2020

In the first episode of Enzo Mari Costellazione series host and curator Alice Rawsthorn dialogues with Hans Ulrich Obrist, curator of the Enzo Mari's retrospective at Triennale to unfold the exhibition genesis, inspired by the constant exchange between Mari and Hans Ulrich Obrist.

"When I worked at the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris during the 1990s, I also had a professorship at the IUAV university in Venice, where I taught art and curatorial studies invited by Marco De Michelis and Angela Vettese. Every second week, I’d take the night train from Paris to Venice. At the time, my friend Stefano Boeri was the professor of architecture at the same university, and we decided to run a seminar together, bridging art and architecture. Soon after, Boeri became the editor-in-chief of Domus and asked me to compile the arts pages for the magazine with Joseph Grima; so for a couple of years I edited this segment. Working in Milan, which has always been a highly influential city for design, my research in design started to intensify. During this collaboration with Boeri, we’d have dinners at his house with a ground-breaking generation of architects and designers, from Andrea Branzi, Achille Castiglioni, Cini Boeri, Vico Magistretti, Alessandro Mendini, Ettore Sottsass and Nanda Vigo to, of course, Enzo Mari. [...] Mari he’s an industrial designer, a furniture designer, an exhibition-maker, an artist, a manifesto-writer, a polemicist especially famous for his rages against the design world. Whenever I travelled through Milan from Paris to Venice, I’d never miss an opportunity to meet up with him and his partner, the seminal feminist art critic, curator and pioneer of performance art Lea Vergine, and we’d go and see some shows together."

Hans Ulrich Obrist

Hans Ulrich Obrist and Enzo Mari

“If I had to choose three projects by Mari, the first would be Autoprogettazione and the idea of knowlodge production. What I think it is interesting is that he wanted to design in order to produce knowledge, something he also talked about a lot in the Conversation. The Autoprogettazione it was not only the idea of democratization of design, which is of course this very historic, but I think what is striking is this idea of knowledge production that he wanted to carried out to improve one person understanding. It was almost as a school, a DIY school for design. The second one is the Mobile Library and the third one is the Calendar, because I live with it everyday.”

Hans Ulrich Obrist

Proposta per un'Autoprogettazione, 1973

Libreria mobile, 1956

Formosa, 1963 and Timor, 1966

Hans Ulrich Obrist is the Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries in London. Prior to this, he was the Curator of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Since his first show “World Soup” (The Kitchen Show) in 1991 he has curated more than 300 shows. In 2011 Obrist received the CCS Bard Award for Curatorial Excellence iin 2015 he was awarded the International Folkwang Prize, and in 2018 he was presented with the Award for Excellence in the Arts by the Appraisers Association of America. Obrist has lectured internationally at academic and art institutions and is a contributing editor to several magazines and journals. His recent publications include Ways of Curating (2015), The Age of Earthquakes (2015), Lives of the Artists, Lives of Architects (2015), Mondialité (2017), Somewhere Totally Else (2018), and The Athens Dialogues (2018).  In 2011 Obrist received the CCS Bard Award for Curatorial Excellence, and in 2015 he was awarded the International Folkwang Prize. Most recently he was honored by the Appraisers Association of America with the 2018 Award for Excellence in the Arts. Obrist has lectured internationally at academic and art institutions and is a contributing editor to several magazines and journals.

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