Sho Shibuya, Grace Lin.

Exhibition in Milan

Mondo Reale As part of the 23rd International Exhibition Triennale Milano "Unknown Unknowns. An Introduction to Mysteries"

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About the exhibition

Mondo Reale is an exhibition presented by The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, as part of the 23rd International Exhibition Unknown Unknowns. An introduction to Mysteries. Invited by Stefano Boeri, President of Triennale Milano, to join the Advisory Board of the 23rd International Exhibition, Hervé Chandès, Directeur général artistique of the Fondation Cartier conceived the show in collaboration with Italian designers Formafantasma and seventeen international contemporary artists, many of whose works have been especially commissioned for Mondo Reale.

Jean-Michel Alberola, Alex Cerveny, Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye, Jaider Esbell, Fabrice Hyber, Yann Kebbi, Guillermo Kuitca, Hu Liu, David Lynch, Ron Mueck, Virgil Ortiz, Artavazd Pelechian, Sho Shibuya, Patti Smith, Sarah Sze, Andrei Ujica, Jessica Wynne.

Exhibition design by Formafantasma

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While the exhibition Unknown Unknowns moves away from Earth to explore the mysteries of the universe, Mondo Reale is imagined as a landing on our planet, a step into the unknown of the everyday world.

The exhibition brings together works expressing a feeling of the unknown. The unknown as perceived in the world we live in by looking at the sky, as explored by mathematicians and poets or experienced through encounters with different cultures, faith, or natural disasters. The unknown as an unexpected reality that leaves us amazed, incredulous, amused, disoriented, dismayed, questioning, worried or full of curiosity and eager to push back the boundaries of knowledge.

Allowed to freely wander among the artworks, the visitors are invited to embrace the mysteries of the unknown and let their imagination, curiosity, and emotions run wild.

Gathering films, paintings, photographs, ceramics, installations and sculptures, Mondo Reale welcomes seventeen international artists as well as mathematicians, physicists, and philosophers. The exhibition includes new commissions to artists Alex Cerveny, Yann Kebbi, Jessica Wynne, Sho Shibuya, Virgil Ortiz, two special projects by David Lynch and Sho Shibuya and artworks from the collection of the Fondation Cartier commissioned for past exhibitions such as Unknown Quantity (Paris, 2002) organised with philosopher Paul Virilio or Mathematics, a Beautiful Elsewhere (Paris, 2011).

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Alex Cerveny, Mondo Reale: Stop, look and listen, 2022. © Alex Cerveny. Collection of the artist, São Paulo.

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Edouard Fraipont

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Yann Kebbi, Mondo Reale, 2022.

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© Yann Kebbi

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Jessica Wynne, Carlo Rovelli, 2022

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Jaider Esbell, Untitled, 2021. © Jaider Esbell. Courtesy Jaider Esbell Gallery of Contemporary Indigenous Art, Boa Vista, Roraima, Brazil.

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Fabrice Hyber, Bug, 2006. ©Fabrice Hyber. Private collection.

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Artavazd Pelechian, La Nature, 2020. Still from film. © Artavazd Pelechian. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain

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MONDO REALE, FROM REALITY TO THE UNKNOWN

The journey in the real world begins with an unexpected encounter. A two-headed creature, the ceramic sculpture Ring Master & Tics (2022) by Virgil Ortiz welcomes the visitors. The artist keeps the ceramic tradition of the Pueblo Cochiti alive, telling the stories of the Native Americans and their revolt, mixing them with his personal experience, science fiction and apocalyptic themes. From this point on, the journey proceeds in a constant oscillation between reality and imagination. The show continues with Man in a Boat (2002) by Ron Mueck: a man journeys on an ancestral voyage of discovery and self-discovery, naked in the prow of a wooden boat staring out into space, enigmatically. A sound installation reveals the voice of Patti Smith reading the text by mathematician Misha Gromov The Four Mysteries of the World: the singer adds that there is a fifth mystery, that of poetry. From the start to the end of the exhibition, we witness a timeline of sunrises and events seized by Sho Shibuya, in a morning ritual leading to an artistic reaction to the news of our world, as captured in the New York Times’ headlines. His paintings of Brooklyn’s sky and international events from the series Headlines: 2020–2022 will accompany us right to the end of the show, constantly evolving under our eyes. Continuing along the path, artist Alex Cerveny, presents a personal glossary in which natural events and biblical figures are visually linked to names of people and places in the world: a very personal way of constructing visual maps to reorder all human knowledge, from mythology to soap opera. Andrei Ujica’s film Unknown Quantity (2002/2005) confronts the visitor with the new world born out of an accident, the Chernobyl disaster, in a conversation between Paul Virilio and Nobel Prize Svetlana Alexievich. Filmmaker Andrei Ujica also presents another film, 2Pasolini (2000/2021), as an homage to Pier Paolo Pasolini, whose 100th birth anniversary is celebrated this year. The film highlights Pasolini’s quest of spirituality. Drawer Yann Kebbi proposes a parallel version of the exhibition through the filter of his creativity. His drawing Mondo Reale imagines another appearance of the artworks of Mondo Reale and their articulation in the space, thus calling the thin line separating reality and imagination into question. A true visual poem, the film Nature (2020) by Artavazd Pelechian is presented for the first time in Italy on this occasion. Produced by the Fondation Cartier, the film presents humanity’s relationship with the natural world through images edited to produce a monumental cinematic experience that escape the classical distinction between fiction and documentary. Here, nature shows us its most disorderly side, from catastrophic to spectacular events, in all its splendour. Mysterious, alien ceramic bowls by artist Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye (Untitled, 1997-2019) express the secretive and silent yet powerful impact of an artwork. They attract the dark waves of the motifs reminiscent of the sea that spread across the surface of Sea wave (2022), a large-scale pencil drawing by artist Hu Liu. In this piece, the spirit of traditional Oriental painting is revived in a contemporary key. A double eclipse in a landscape of disorganized objects and geographies, presented by Guillermo Kuitca’s painting (Double Eclipse, 2013), forecasts the state of the world. A bear comes face-to-face with its surprisingly funny reflection in the water: a teddy bear, a TedHyber, is the subject of three paintings by Fabrice Hyber. His works highlight the many possible points of view on the world, yet another kind of duplicity (or multiplicity) of ironic interpretations of what is real and what is not. The pendulum, an ancient scientific instrument designed to track the Earth’s rotation, to measure time and space and, lastly, to explain the natural world, inspires the evocative installation titled Tracing Fallen Sky (2020) by artist Sarah Sze. Mathematics is again at the centre of reflection with a series of large-scale photographs by Jessica Wynne, who presents blackboards bearing writings by the greatest scientists of contemporary times: a vision of knowledge and its erasure. As a special commission by the Fondation Cartier, Wynne photographed the blackboard of physicist Carlo Rovelli. Similarly, the video by Jean-Michel Alberola, La Main de Cédric Villani (la conjecture de Cercignani) captures the gestures of mathematician Cédric Villani as he illustrates Cercignani’s conjecture on his blackboard. Going on with the visit, we discover the works of Jaider Esbell, once an activist who had been part of the resistance movement of the indigenous people of the Roraima state in Brazil. Esbell paints the worldview and the myths of the Macuxi people in a multiverse rich in colours that encompasses microcosms and macrocosms alike. David Lynch is present in the exhibition with three works. The special project Weather Report live in the exhibition space. The installation Universe Coming from Zero (2011), a kaleidoscopic animated catalogue of all the objects in the universe commissioned by Fondation Cartier for the Paris exhibition Mathematics, a Beautiful Elsewhere in 2011. The film What Did Jack Do? (2017) ends the exhibition sequence: a black-and-white film set in a train station, where a homicide squad detective played by Lynch himself corners a surprising suspect. In What Did Jack Do? the case remains unsolved: clearly, mystery does not end with the end of the exhibition.

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Virgil Ortiz, Ring Master & Tics, 2022. © Virgil Ortiz. Courtesy of the artist.

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Sho Shibuya, Greece. August 9, 2021. From HEADLINES: 2020-2022 © Sho Shibuya

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Sarah Sze, Tracing Fallen Sky, 2020. © Sarah Sze. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain.

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Thibaut Voisin

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Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye, Untitled, 2010. © Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye. Private collection.

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MONDO REALE SPECIAL PROJECTS: LIVE FROM MONDO REALE

The show extends beyond the physical borders of the exhibition space with two special projects, Live from Mondo Reale, that will cadence the entire duration of the 23rd International Exhibition.

David Lynch’s, Weather Report will be broadcast daily in the exhibition. At 7PM on the dot, David Lynch will announce the weather forecast from his studio in Los Angeles. Empirical yet fictional, the weather report shapes the present and our interpretation of it.

Sho Shibuya will share his daily artistic ritual in a last digital frame presented at the end of the exhibition. The Brooklyn sky as seen from his window painted on the daily edition of the New York Times and made into a digital image travels all the way to Triennale Milano. A journey through time, from West to East, which underscores the inexorable and everyday passage of time, as a painted timeline.

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EXHIBITION DESIGN BY FORMAFANTASMA

Formafantasma is invited by the Fondation Cartier to design the settings of Mondo Reale. Departing from the show's evocative title, Formafantasma’s exhibition design aims to respond to an apparently simple question: what is reality in the context of a fabricated exhibition?

The design reuses the walls that were built for the previous exhibition instead of working with additional plastered walls (a synonym for ephemerality), and partitions remaining spaces through a large use of paper. The materials used, mostly borrowed or recycled, allow for repair and reuse and include wood, bricks, metal scaffoldings, and woollen carpets.

Formafantasma developed this exhibition as an exercise in balancing the needs of contemporary art to exist in the spatial abstraction of museums’ ‘white cube’ while considering the ecological implications of designing a temporary space.

Andrei Ujica en conversation avec Peter Sloterdijk.

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