Home » I am a dragon. The true story of Alessandro Mendini – Exhibition and installation at Triennale Milano | edited by Fulvio Irace with Elisa and Fulvia Mendini

I am a dragon. The true story of Alessandro Mendini – Exhibition and installation at Triennale Milano | edited by Fulvio Irace with Elisa and Fulvia Mendini

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I am a dragon.  The true story of Alessandro Mendini – Exhibition and installation at Triennale Milano |  edited by Fulvio Irace with Elisa and Fulvia Mendini

Milan, 13 April – 13 October 2024

«As far as I’m concerned, it’s not the project that interests me: I use the reality of the project not coherently with its own purpose, but in order to carry out my natural vital act which is to produce images»

If we had to describe Mendini’s work in a few words, the most suitable ones would probably be color and imagination. And it is precisely to his eclectic personality, which marked the revolutions in thought and customs of the twentieth century and the new millennium, that the exhibition which from 13 April to 13 October 2024 will occupy the Cubo space at Triennale Milano e from April 16th to June 16th also the Impluvium with the installation What? A homage to Alessandro Mendini by Philippe Starckcreated by the French architect and designer.

Organized by Triennale Milan with Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Artwith the curatorship of Fulvio Irace and in collaboration with Elisa and Fulvia Mendini – Archivio Alessandro Mendini, the retrospective I am a dragon. The true story of Alessandro Mendini The title draws inspiration from one of Alessandro Mendini’s most emblematic self-portraits, underlining the complexity of his figure within the international design, architecture and art scene.

Through the over 400 works of different formats, materials and subjectsworks from numerous public and private collections (in particular, those of the Alessandro Mendini Archive, the Fondation Cartier, the Triennale, the Abet Laminati Museum, the Groninger Museum, the Vitra Design Museum, Alessi and Bisazza), the exhibition reflects Mendini’s gaze on the worldhis empathy towards everyday objects and the mystery of poetry, capable of transforming even what is banal into a surprise that reveals the enchantment of everyday life.

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Alessandro Mendini | Fragilism Plan, 2002, Courtesy Collezione Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art

The setup and the exhibition itinerary

The exhibition project, entrusted to Pierre Charpina designer who has collaborated with Mendini on several occasions, interprets the master’s method through the concept of the “dragon”, translated into an archipelago of islands that characterize the various historical moments, giving continuity to his incessant research.

Upon entering the large room, the visitor finds himself immersed in a single environment underlined by a large axis that ideally connects the Small Cathedralat the Giant Head against the background of Muzio’s scale: a small architecture and a large head to exemplify Mendini’s work on the scales of perception.

Photo: Delfino Sisto Legnani – DSL Studio © Triennale Milano

The 6 thematic nuclei

They orient the visitor inside the exhibition 6 thematic nuclei continuous but distinct:

IDENTIKIT exhibits the series of self-portraits created by Mendini with different techniques and formats throughout his life
GULLIVER’S SYNDROMEinstead shows a succession of out-of-scale objects, from extra-large ones – such as Proust’s Armchair and the Petite Cathédrale to the reductions in size of some projects created for Alessi
ARCHITECTURESpresents the architectural works of Atelier Mendini, including the Groninger Museum, the Mediazentrum Madsack in Hanover, the three stations of the Naples Metro and the latest works in South Korea, from the Olympic Stadium to the Posco district in Seoul
FRAGILISMis the nucleus dedicated to the research that led to the “fragilism” manifesto, designed by Mendini at the invitation of the Fondation Cartier: a praise of the fragility of the earth in a world marked by wars and violence
RADICAL MELANCHOLY is the section dedicated to the years of radical design, of which Mendini was one of the main theoreticians
ROOMS collects the projects of the three rooms designed by Mendini, immersive environments in which quotes, memories, dreams and nightmares accumulate.

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The CINEMA ROOMfinally, it hosts the screening of the documentary created by Francesca Molteni to retrace the life and work of Mendini.

Photo: Delfino Sisto Legnani – DSL Studio © Triennale Milano

Who was Alessandro Mendini

Born in Milan in 1931, Mendini graduated from the Milan Polytechnic in the late 1950s, and began his career as an associate of the Nizzoli firm.

His great creative ability immediately led him to be considered one of the most revolutionary personalities in the production of Made in Italy, inspired by the avant-garde of Radical Design and his constant presence in the architectural debate, also thanks to the direction of great magazines of the time such as Casabella and Domus, named by Gio Ponti himself.

He founded the Atelier Mendini together with his brother Francesco in 1989, a crucial moment for the beginning of collaborations with companies such as Alessi, Zanotta, Bisazza and Cartier.

Among his projects we remember the Groninger Museum (1988-1994, 2010), the Alessi factories and the Forum-Museum of Omegna (1996), the Teatrino della Bicchieraia in Arezzo (1998), the urban restructuring of the Maghetti district in Lugano (1998 ), the three Metro stations in Naples (2000).

Alessandro Mendini | Ph Roberto Gennari Feslikenian – Ramun

Accompanying the exhibition is a catalog published by Electa – in Italian and English – which, in addition to the list of works on display, presents a wide selection of photographs of Mendini’s main projects, a series of essays by international authors and testimonials from clients and friends who have shared his creative and design adventures over the years.

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13 April – 13 October 2024

where: Triennale Milano,
viale Emilio Alemagna 6

Triennale Milano opening times
Tuesday – Sunday | 11am – 8pm
(last entry at 7.00pm)

Milan Design Week timetable
15 – 21 April 2024
Monday – Sunday 11.00 – 21.00
(last entry at 8.00pm)

full price: 15 euros
reduced 12 euros
students 7.50 euros

+info: triennale.org

Photo: Delfino Sisto Legnani – DSL Studio © Triennale Milano

I’m not an Architect, I’m a Dragon, 2006
drawing, marker and colored pencils on paper, 21×29.7 cm
Alessandro Mendi Archive

published on: 04/15/2024

I am a dragon. The true story of Alessandro Mendini Exhibition and installation at Triennale Milano | edited by Fulvio Irace with Elisa and Fulvia Mendini – Alessandro Mendini Archive
Triennale Milano, Emilio Alemagna 6

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