Mari

biography

Mari

ENZO MARl was born in Novara (Italy) in 1932. Mari, in his unceasing quest for exactitude, is certainly one of the most meditative and problematical of the Italian designers and artists. He studied at the Brera Academy in Milan but not for long. Towards 1950 his main interests were the psychology of vision and design methodology. The success of his first works as an artist did not prevent him form taking part, with a strong and also political sense of commitment, in the controversy, lively in those years, between neo-realism and nonfiguration. Even then, the specific object of his research was the study of the visual space in search of the necessary co-relationship between object and unitary space. In Mari's work of pure plastic research the aesthetic result derives from the didactic premise that motivates his work of design. Also important in the consideration of the symbolic, as well as the functional, aspect of the object. This leads logically to the relationship between design and language, language and communication: hence the search for simple forms, easy to construct, but conforming to essential rules of order and proportion. In 1963 Mari took part in the "Nouvelle tendance" exhibition at Zagreb and Milan, in 1964 in the Venice Biennial. From 1963 to 1965 he taught Methodology of Design at the Humanitarian school in Milan, in 1970 at the Experimental Center of Cinematography in Rome, and in 1981-82 at the School of Fine Arts of Carrara. In 1965 he took part in "The Responsive Eye" exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In this period his work tended increasingly towards industrial design, the social and pedagogic aspects of which he considers no less essential than the technological. He designed furniture, useful objects, urban furniture, toys, etc. In 1968 he decided not to take part in group exhibitions, signing -together with Castellani, Massironi and Boriani -a declaration condemning the commercialization of exhibitions of art. He took up a political position in this regard in the question of the Milan Triennial. His writings in this period were collected in a book published by Edizioni di Comunita in 1970, in the catalogue of the "New Domestic Landscape" exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and in the records of the proceedings at the ICSID congress in Tokyo in 1973. The most recent writings which have accompanied Mari's graphic and design activity emphasize the difficult and contradictory existence of the intellectual in neo-capitalistic society and suggest areas in which the artistic operator can operate "artistically," whether by unmasking the ambiguity of the system or by questioning the very concept of design, and also give examples in which design, though reaching its conclusion in the manufactured object, does not lose its function of solicitation and renewal. In 1983 Mari took part in the "L'ultima avanguardia" exhibition at the Palazzo Reale in Milan and in 1984 he was invited to design the transformation of Piazza del Duomo in Milan.

exhibitions