The narrative dedicated to the work and person of Ettore Sottsass could fill entire libraries, major exhibitions and retrospectives are dedicated to the artist, designer and architect, and the Milan Triennale has dedicated a room to Sottsass, which houses the permanent installation Casa Lana. The latest project that the Milan institution has dedicated to the artist is the third chapter of the trilogy of exhibitions that started with Struttura e colore (3 December 2021-12 June 2022) and continued with Il calcolo (15 July 2022-8 January 2023). The title is Ettore Sottsass. The Word, which opens to the public on Friday 20 January and runs until 2 April 2023 will focus on the artist’s multiple use of the written word.
The works exhibited on the occasion of the exhibition are new and provide new readings of the multidisciplinary work of Ettore Sottsass, who made narration a complementary element to form as the fruit of design. Through lists, descriptions, confessions, diaries, short stories, magazines, posters, fanzines, articles, speeches, lectures and reviews, Sottsass accompanied his artistic production, expressing himself as a person and as a designer.
The President of Triennale Milano Stefano Boeri spoke about the new exhibition as follows: “Ettore Sottsass possessed the extremely rare gift of a limpid writing style rich in profound suggestions. He distilled with words concepts and images that still today go straight to the heart of the reader, of those who let themselves be led – and inevitably enchanted – into his intimate imagination of spaces, objects and human events.”
For Ettore Sottsass, the word was as much a tool for understanding the world as the design of architecture and design objects. The word is precisely a tool for analysis and simplification and we find this simplicity in the artist’s handwriting, simple and comprehensible.
The exhibition is a way of delving even deeper into the work of one of the greatest designers of the 20th century, going beyond the Casablanca bookcase, the Olivetti typewriter and the Ultrafragola mirror, thus taking from that famous library a book we had not yet read.