The metal soul of Alessandro Mendini

Until 20 May, at the M77 Gallery in Milan, the exhibition 'L'Età dei metalli' investigates the great master's relationship with metal.

Alessandro Mendini, "L'Età dei metalli"

Alessandro Mendini wanted to infuse all objects with a soul. From his point of view, an object is never just a tool, as it establishes intimate relationships with the psyche, fragility and uncertainties of people. Starting from this assumption, gallery owners Giuseppe Lezzi and Emanuela Baccaro of M77 decided, with this project, to show a new face of the eclectic architect and theorist. In a 2014 thesis, Mendini wrote: «From the depths of time, the objects of the world have possessed a soul, that of the spiritual aspirations of the men of their peoples. The mass-produced object of the industrial age is in search of the lost soul.»

Alessandro Mendini, “L’Età dei metalli”
Alessandro Mendini, “L’Età dei metalli”

More than 55 works, including some extraordinary new ones, thus investigate the metal soul of the Master. The curatorial choice takes its cue from Alessandro Mendini’s interest in the use of gold, such as the tower in the Groningen Museum, and yellow and black in the chequered decoration of the bus shelter in Hannover, or in some installations from the early 1990s, where this checkerboarding expands and invades the surfaces of walls, paintings, objects and sculptures.

The bus shelter in Hannover designed by Alessandro Mendini

«The checkerboard is an enigmatic sign, especially if it is yellow and black, or gold and black. It is a highly signposting system, used as much in medieval heraldry as on airport runways. If it is very small it translates into the grid of a mosaic or the weave of a small dot fabric, if it is large it can translate into just the intersection of two colours», wrote Alessandro Mendini in 2007.