Mondo Reale

Mondo Reale

Fondation Cartier, 2022

Mondo Reale is the exhibition presented by Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, as part of the 23rd International Exhibition Unknown Unknowns. An introduction to Mysteries.
Mondo Reale has been imagined as a landing on our planet, a step into the unknown of the everyday world. Departing from this statement, the exhibition design aimed to respond to an apparently simple question: what is reality in the context of a fabricated exhibition?
№ – Mondo Reale, exhibition view
№ – Mondo Reale, detail
The design reused the walls that were built for the previous exhibition instead of working with additional plastered walls (a synonym for ephemerality), and partitioned remaining spaces through the use of paper.
Balancing the needs of contemporary art to exist in the spatial abstraction of museums’ ‘white cubes’ has been an exercise to reconsider the ecological implications of designing a temporary space.
№ – Mondo Reale, exhibition view
№ – Mondo Reale, detail
Gathering films, paintings, photographs, ceramics, installations and sculptures, Mondo Reale welcomes seventeen international artists as well as mathematicians, physicists, and philosophers. Each artwork is an open question, an invitation to embrace mysteries.

Accordingly, the space has been conceived as a series of pavilions, creating internal chambers allowing the visitors to focus on the singular element such as a video projection.
The pavillions also foster a sense of permeability and connection between the different artworks. The materials used for these pavilions, mostly borrowed or recycled, allow for repair and reuse, as they include paper, wood, bricks, metal scaffoldings, and woollen carpets.
№ – Mondo Reale, detail
№ – Mondo Reale, detail
A two-headed creature by Virgil Ortiz, 'Ring Master & Tics', welcomes the visitors through a niche becoming somewhat of a manifesto of the exhibition.

Entering the space, among the exhibition interventions, visitors find a timeline of sunrises and events captured by Sho Shibuya.
His paintings of Brooklyn’s sky and international events in the series 'Headlines: 2020-2022' accompany visitors from the entrance to the end of the exhibition.
These paintings are encased in a series of frames hanging on the wall that can be flipped to have the possibility of seeing both the painting and the original page of the New York Times, a way of presenting not only the output but also the artist’s process.
№ – Mondo Reale, detail
№ – Mondo Reale, detail
Along the perimeter walls on the other side, a series of paintings from different artists are hung creating a different line of spatial interconnection.
The artworks are arranged to link the exhibition spaces to each other. For instance, photographer Jessica Wynne presents a series of large-scale photographs of blackboards bearing writings by the greatest scientists of contemporary times.

Three walls made of Japanese paper Takeo host some of the masterpieces presented in Mondo Reale.
A first lightly curved partition frames the painting 'Mondo Reale' by Alex Cervenny, a 'visual map to reorder all human knowledge'.
A tower shaped pavilion circumscribes the mystical movie by Andrei Ujica, '2Pasolini', creating a feeling of reverence and spirituality. This is accentuated by the materiality of the pavilion that allows for transparent and natural light to illuminate the space from the back.
At the end of the path an S shaped wall encompasses and highlights the work of Sarah Sze, 'Tracing the Falling Sky', on one side, while on the other it creates a small private chamber where visitors can stop, sit on an armchair and take part of the conversation between David Lynch and Jack, the monkey protagonist of the short movie 'What did Jack do?'.
№ – Mondo Reale, detail
№ – Mondo Reale, detail
At the core of the exhibition, Formafantasma designed of a staircase made of extruded industrial profiles giving Andri Ujica's work, 'Unknown Quantity', a new way of being experienced: the video was conceived as a conversation filmed by a CCTV camera, from an elevated perspective, and the exhibition design aims to bring visitors to that level, feeling part of the scene.

The movie 'Nature' by Artvazed Pelechian is hosted in the cinema created as a space within the space of the exhibition, allowing the entirety of its monumental cinematic experience to unravel, as it escapes the classical distinction between fiction and documentary. In order to accentuate the experience, the space is conceived as a dark immersive environment, covered by textile and moquette, where the visitors can rest on armchairs by italian furniture company Tacchini.
№ – Mondo Reale, exhibition view
№ – Mondo Reale, exhibition view
A further intervention by Formafantasma is the deconstructed pavilion hosting the work of artist Fabrice Hyber. His paintings hang in the middle of the space on a blue carpet, generating a space within the space.

The caption system is designed not to become an appendix of the exhibition but as a key element strongly linked to the artworks. Long plates made in brushed stainless steel host the essential information for visitors: artist’s name, artwork’s title and year.
№ – Mondo Reale, exhibition view
№ – Mondo Reale, detail

Notes, References and External Links

1. The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain is a creative space dedicated to promoting and raising public awareness of contemporary art. Initiated in 1984 by Alain Dominique Perrin, President of Cartier International at the time, on a suggestion by the artist César, and directed by Hervé Chandès, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain is a unique example of corporate philanthropy in France which organizes each year a program of exhibitions based on either individual artists or themes, and commissions work from artists, thus enriching an important collection.

2. The International Exhibition is cultural event, conveying the complexities of the contemporary world in a host of artistic forms: design, architecture, and the visual, scenic, and performing arts, Since 1933 it takes place every three years in the Palazzo dell’Arte, the Triennale di Milano’s headquarters, designed by Giovanni Muzio.

3. Unknown Unknowns. An Introduction to Mysteries is the 23re International Exhibition which tries to answer a series of questions about what we still "don't know we don't know" in different topics: from the evolution of the cities to the oceans, from genetics to astrophysics.

4. Tacchini is an Italian furniture company that produces both domestic and public furniture made by Italian artisans with a careful gaze on the choice of quality materials and leading-edge technology, and always referencing to tradition.


CONCEPT, DESIGN Andrea Trimarchi, Simone Farresin
DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT Veronica Camera, Jeroen Van Der Gruiter
CURATOR Michela Alessandrini
GENERAL COORDINATOR Monica Paganelli with Julia Monti
PRODUCTION MANAGER Grazia Cattaneo, Aria Studio
PRODUCTION AND INSTALLATION Altofragile, D&D International Group s.r.l.
PHOTO CREDITS Andrea Rossetti – Courtesy Fondation Cartier


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