Triennale Milano reveals Unknown Unknowns theme for 2022 exhibition

Triennale Milano reveals Unknown Unknowns theme for 2022 exhibition

International Exhibitions of Triennale Milano president Stefano Boeri has announced that the 23rd edition of the Triennale Milano will focus on what "we don't know that we don't know".

Set to take place 1 March to 30 August 2022, the International Exhibitions of Triennale Milano will have the theme Unknown Unknowns and aim to build on the ideas developed in the previous triennale, which was curated by Paola Antonelli and named Broken Nature.

Triennale introduces the question of the enormous expansion

The organisers of the triennale worked with scientists, curators, artists and intellectuals from all over the world to determine the theme that aims to encourage collaboration between scientists and creatives.

Stefano Boeri
Top: The triennale's theme is Unknown Unknowns. Above: International Exhibitions of Triennale Milano president Stefano Boeri

"Unknown Unknowns is a title that introduces the question of the enormous expansion, even following the pandemic, of the sphere of what we do not know – and above all of what we do not know we do not know," Italian architect Boeri told Dezeen.

"The challenge of the 23rd International Exhibition – aimed above all at those in search of a dialogue between scientific research and artistic creativity – is to construct a series of questions that help us understand which areas of human knowledge are still indecipherable, starting from our relationship with the sphere of the natural phenomena."

"Great questions that the exhibition will articulate will be given multidisciplinary answers"

A curator for the triennial will be announced this December, who will be tasked with organising an event that, like Broken Nature, will focus on the unknown.

"As happened with Broken Nature curated by Paola Antonelli the triennale will try to look at the question of the huge portion of the world we still do not know, starting from a proactive attitude," said Boeri.

"The great questions that the exhibition will articulate will be given multidisciplinary answers, capable of transforming the fragility that this pandemic has left us in a new great cognitive impetus, starting from a necessary epistemological leap that asks us today to know how to decentralise our point of view as the dominant species in the life of planet Earth."

Although the current coronavirus pandemic contributed to the triennale's theme, it is routed in several crises that have impacted the world since the turn of the millennium.

"The pandemic is the third global shock in 20 years, after 11 September 2001 and the financial crisis of 2008," explained Boeri.

"At a first glance, the very fast and pervasive spread of Covid-19 may seem an isolated and unpredictable event, but we know that it is deeply rooted in the factors triggering the climate crisis – think of how wild deforestation facilitates the virus spill-over – and that it is grafted, expanding them, on the social inequalities that afflict the geopolitics of the planet."

Unknown Unknowns will be the 23rd International Exhibitions of Triennale Milano, an event that has taken place since 1923 but had a 20-year break before returning for the 2016 edition. Since 1933 it has been held at the Palazzo dell'Arte in Milan.

Triennale Milano president Boeri is known for integrating nature into his architecture and designed the tree-covered Bosco Verticale tower in Milan.  Other recent projects by the architect include plans for a coronavirus-resilient neighbourhood in Tirana and a Smart Forest City covered in 7.5 million plants near Cancun in Mexico.

Boeri is also designing an elevated walkway that will be built under Renzo Piano's Genoa bridge.

International Exhibitions of Triennale Milano will run from 1 March to 30 August 2022. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

Main image courtesy of NASA.