'Mondo Mendini: The World of Alessandro Mendini,' on view at the Groninger Museum through May 5, is a large-scale exhibition of the renowned Italian designer, who 25 years ago served as the chief architect of the still remarkable Groninger Museum building, put together shortly before he passed away. Mendini chose to display not only a broad selection from his own oeuvre, but he also selected works by artists with whom he felt a kinship, such as Paul Signac, Gio Ponti, and Michele De Lucchi.
Comprising more than 200 objects, Mondo Mendini is a visually overwhelming, poetic, and humorous reflection of Mendini's career as a designer and an architect.
Because of his rejection of hierarchical divisions between architecture, autonomous art and design - between 'high' and 'low' art - Alessandro Mendini (1931-2019) became one of postmodernism's most distinctive designers. His work is often colorful, decorative and surprising in form, with imagination taking precedence over functionality.
More than two years ago, the Groninger Museum invited Mendini to compile an exhibition of his work, taking whatever approach he wished. He was delighted at the chance to curate a large-scale show in 'his' museum.
Mondo Mendini features a number of his most famous creations. Among them is a giant three-meter-high version of Poltrona di Proust, his kitschy armchair decorated with colorful dots. Another highlight is the imposing Petite cathédrale, a miniature cathedral covered entirely in mosaic. Both works come from the Fondation Cartier collection. The cathedral's interior even is covered in gold mosaic, as is the sculpture Visage archaïque, housed inside, which the designer intended as a universal symbol of harmony.
Photo: Carlo Lavatori, Alessandro Mendini Archive
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