15 July 2022 – 8 January 2023
Unknown Unknowns. An Introduction to Mysteries
Milan Triennale, 23rd International Exhibition
viale Alemagna 6, 20121 Milano Italy

15 Luglio 2022 – 8 Gennaio 2023
Unknown Unknowns. An Introduction to Mysteries
23a Esposizione Internazionale di Triennale Milano
Triennale Milano, viale Alemagna 6, 20121 Milano

Amy Karle in Group Exhibition 

The 23rd Triennale Milano International Exhibition Unknown Unknowns. An Introduction to Mysteries addresses the theme of the unknown, asking questions about the mysteries of the known world, and opening up a discussion concerning the issue of what we don’t know that we don’t know.

The 23rd International Exhibition of the Milano Triennale is conceived as a space for open and plural debate and comparison, where different experiences, cultures and perspectives can converge. Unknown Unknowns. An Introduction to Mysteries 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. A deep experience, which involves artists, designers, architects, playwrights and musicians, and that gives the opportunity to overturn our idea of the world.

Unknown Unknowns does not aim to gradually conquer the vast territory that is beyond our knowledge. It aims rather to explore it with the attitude of those who choose first of all the challenge of empathy, the exclusively human ability to see with the eyes of the other living beings and to map the confines of the contemporary unknown from these varied perspectives. The 23rd International Exhibition offers a new perspective on the unknown: from the most distant universe of dark matter, from the bottom of the oceans at the origin of our consciousness. What we do not know that we do not know is not the realization of a limit, but the perception of a form of knowledge that respects the unknown, sometimes embracing it, sometimes crossing it, sometimes eluding it. But always accepting it as a constant presence in our life,” states Stefano Boeri, President of Triennale Milano.

Unknown Unknowns takes the form of a constellation of exhibitions, installations and projects and brings together 400 artists, designers, and architects from more than 40 countries; 23 international participations, with a strong presence on the part of the continent of Africa, represented by 6 national pavilions (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda). The exhibition includes a thematic exhibition and section dedicated to international participations, invited under the auspices of the Bureau International des Expositions, through government channels.

The thematic exhibition presents more than a hundred works, projects and installations by international artists, researchers and designers dealing with the unknown. It addresses a series of themes including: gravity, seen as “the greatest designer,” an artisan that tirelessly shapes the universe to which we belong; maps, systems by which trajectories and routes are determined; the new challenges facing architecture, that is opening itself up to brand new prospects such as how to live in extraterrestrial space; and, ultimately, the mysteries linked to deep space.

The exhibition, curated by Ersilia Vaudo, astrophysicist and Chief Diversity Officer of the European Space Agency, is the nerve center of the 23rd International Exhibition. An area whose boundaries are hazy and permeable, and that present more than a hundred works, projects and installations by international artists, researchers and designers dealing with the unknown.

The themed show includes special commissions by Yuri Suzuki, Irene Stracuzzi, SOM, and Refik Anadol; as well as a series of site-specific installations, including those produced by Andrea Galvani, Tomás Saraceno, Bosco Sodi, Protey Temen, Julijonas Urbonas and Marie Velardi.

In addition, along the exposition route, there are also four Listening Chambers, spaces in which sound becomes spoken words, and visitors can abandon themselves to the narrations of leading figures from the world of science. Thus, the neuroscientist Antonio Damasio addresses the theme of the self and of conscience, the theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli deals with time, the philosopher of biology Telmo Pievani reflects on the origin and theoretical physicist, Lisa Randall.

Francis Kéré, architect and the winner of the 2022 Pritzker Architecture Prize curated four installations, placed in the common areas of Triennale, that are dedicated to the images and voices of the African continent, including Future’s Present, a 12-mt high tower that stands in front of Triennale entrance.

The 23rd International Exhibition also hosts two major exhibitions: Mondo Reale, conceived by Hervé Chandès, General Artistic Director of the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, and La tradizione del nuovo, curated by Marco Sammicheli, Director of Triennale’s Museo del Design Italiano. There is also a series of installations and special projects involving the art historians Giovanni Agosti and Jacopo Stoppa, the musician and writer Francesco Bianconi, the philosopher Emanuele Coccia, the researcher and lecturer Ingrid Paoletti, the artist and Triennale Grand Invité for 2021-2024 Romeo Castellucci, and a master of architecture and design, Andrea Branzi with the architect Lapo Lani.

With a view to reuse and sustainability, the staging for the themed show – designed by Space Caviar and created by WASP is wholly created with 3D printing. It was produced in the spaces of Triennale by large printers on an architectural scale, using only natural materials, largely deriving from the food industry.

Text and information provided by Triennale Milano.

Press Conference

Opening Ceremony

Triennale Milano is an international cultural institution that brings together all forms of art related to contemporary culture: design, architecture, visual arts, and performing arts. It is a place where art and design, creativity and technology, tradition and innovation meet.The institution exhibits works by major Italian and international architects, designers and artists. Exhibitions, encounters, conferences and performances punctuate its programming, and provoke reflection on the key problems of our society, which also occupy public debate.