The 23rd Triennale Milano International Exhibition has officially opened its doors to the public today. Titled Unknown Unknowns. An Introduction to Mysteries, the Triennale is displaying a selection of artwork and installations designed by 400 international architects and designers, questioning "what we don’t know we don’t know". Celebrating 100 years since its foundation, this year's exhibition presents a new way of looking at the mysteries of the world, seeing it as an opportunity to investigate subjects such as the furthest universe to dark matter and the origin of our conscience.
Stefano Boeri, president of the Triennale Milano, explains that the 23rd International Exhibition "aims to be a platform for dialogue and research, an opportunity for exchanges and encounters involving artists, designers, architects, curators, schools and collectives, as well as cultural institutions, museums and research institutes coming from all over the world. This plurality of points of view will allow us to expand our gaze to encompass what we do not yet know we don't know. At a time as dramatic and complex as the current, we believe that it is more important than ever to preserve and promote the exchange of ideas, experiences and reflections between different countries and different cultures.”
Francis Kéré, winner of the 2022 Pritzker Architecture Prize, has designed the display installations in the common areas of Triennale and curated two installations dedicated to the voices of the African continent, which is strongly present in the exhibition, and represented by 6 national pavilions: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda. Kéré's first project is a 12-meter tower at the Triennale's entrance, that brings together images and materials of "that which has been, and that which is yet to come". The installation entitled Yesterday's Tomorrow at the center of the International Participations section, explores the vernacular architecture of Burkina Faso.
Kéré also designed the seating area for Triennale's common zones, as well as the installation Under a Coffee Tree, made in collaboration with Triennale and Lavazza Group. The tree brings everyone together, similar to how the coffee ritual unites different people from all over the world. Kéré was also tasked by Burkina Faso, the country's first participation in the International Exhibition, with creating the Drawn Together project, a wall that visitors are invited to co-create.
The thematic exhibition is curated by Ersilia Vaudo, astrophysicist and Chief Diversity Officer at the European Space Agency. Sitting at the center of the exhibition, the area's boundaries are permeable, which allows more than a hundred installations to be on display. The installations address a series of themes including: gravity, seen as “the greatest designer”, maps and systems by which trajectories and routes are determined, the new challenges facing architecture, and the mysteries linked to deep space. The thematic exhibition also includes four commissions by Japanese designer Yuri Suzuki, Italian designer Irene Stracuzzi, the US architects' and designers’ collective SOM, and the Turkish-American artist Refik Anadol.
Reinforcing the values of reuse and sustainability, the staging for the thematic exhibition, designed by Space Caviar and created by Wasp, is created entirely by 3D printing and produced in the spaces of Triennale by large printers on an architectural scale, using only organic materials, largely deriving from the food industry.
Planeta Ukrain, the Ukrainian Pavilion at the exhibition, is a multi-site project in Triennale's internal and external spaces. Curated by the writer Gianluigi Ricuperati with the actress Lidiya Liberman and the pianist Anastasia Stovbyr, the pavilion presents an overview of contemporary Ukrainian culture, touching on several different disciplinary fields.
The Mondo Reale installation, curated by Hervé Chandès and conceived by Formafantasma, is an exploration of the real world, focusing on the wonders that inhabit the planet through the work of 17 international artists. Films, paintings, photography, installations, and sculptures, explore reality as a reverie, "proposing an aesthetic experience around knowledge and its erasure: a direct, emotional encounter with multiple visions of the unknown through the lens of art and science".
The exhibition is sponsored by Triennale in collaboration with the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) and Italy's Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Aid, and will be held until December 11th, 2022.