“The Intellectual Work: Sixty Paperweights” was a unique exhibition of the master of Italian design Enzo Mari, held at KALEIDOSCOPE’s project space on the occasion of Milan’s Design Week in 2010. The exhibition brought together for the first time a wide selection from Mari’s personal collection of paperweights, objets trouvés gathered over the course of a lifetime that Mari considers paradigmatic of his own practice.
“For Mari, they are not a simple collection of mirabilia: they are thinking tools, small bachelor machines, pawns of a never-ending chess game. Every object and work created by Mari functions as an allegory: of the human ability to ‘do’ (poiein) and of the possible virtuous transformations of society. Paperweights correspond perfectly with Mari’s poetics, his non-stop search for the essence of form—not in theory, but in praxis.” (Barbara Casavecchia)
The exhibition was accompanied by a publication realized in collaboration with the designer, featuring an essay by Barbara Casavecchia and photographs by Carlo Lavatori. The installation later traveled to Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin, opening up a series of subsequent “dialogues” by three younger artists (and Mari admirers): Jason Dodge, Tim Rollins and K.O.S, and Pavel Büchler.
Still-life photography: Carlo Lavatori. Portrait: Marco Velardi.