Exhibition entrance of Unknown Unknowns

Artists, designers and architects address "the unknown" in the 23rd Triennale Milano International Exhibition

Promotion: Japanese sound designer Yuri Suzuki and architectural studio SOM are among the designers taking part in the 23rd edition of Triennale Milano International Exhibition, which focuses on "what we do not know that we don't know".

The 23rd Triennale Milano International Exhibition takes place in Milan, Italy, and explores the theme named Unknown Unknowns. An Introduction to Mysteries, which includes installations, exhibitions and projects involving 400 artists, designers and architects from over 40 countries.

 Japanese artist Yuri Suzuki's black sculpture
Sound of Earth by Yuri Suzuki is part of the thematic exhibition Unknown Unknowns

The 23rd International Exhibition includes three main exhibitions, which Triennale Milano say have been extended to 8 January due to visitor demand. This includes the overall thematic exhibition also called Unknown Unknowns. An Introduction to Mysteries; an exhibition that spotlights influential Italian design named La tradizione del nuovo – A tradition of the new; and an exhibition that "explores the unknown through the lens of art and science" called Mondo Reale.

"The 23rd International Exhibition 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 do not know that we don't know’" said Triennale Milano. "Unknown Unknowns puts forward an opportunity for investigation: from the furthest universe to dark matter, from the bottom of the oceans to the origin of our conscience."

Surrealist artwork by Alex Cerveny
Mondo Reale presents the work of 17 international artists such as the artwork of Alex Cerveny

The thematic exhibition is described as the "nerve centre" of Unknown Unknowns. An Introduction to Mysteries and has been curated by astrophysicist and chief diversity officer at the European Space Agency, Ersilia Vaudo.

The exhibition presents the work of over a hundred artists and designers including a commission by Suzuki, called Sound of the Earth, which consists of a large and circular sculpture covered by speakers that constantly reproduce sounds made by people from around the world.

The Future's Present and Under a Coffee Tree render
Pritzker Prize winner Francis Kéré presents an installation called The Future's Present and Under a Coffee Tree

Also on show is an installation named Decalogue for Space Architecture developed by SOM, which explores the "challenges for architecture in outer space".

The thematic exhibition also features four spaces called Listening Chambers where leading scientific figures can be heard talking about scientific themes such as consciousness and the senses. For example, theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli addresses the theme of time, while the philosopher of biology Telmo Pievani reflects on the origin of life.

The entrance of Triennale Milano
Triennale Milano presents the work of over 400 artists

Curated by Marco Sammicheli, director of Triennale's Museo del Design Italiano, La tradizione del nuovo – A tradition of the new, focuses on Italian design and how it "has always had a courageous approach dedicated to exploration". The exhibition presents creative processes and installations that document how the designers have contributed to society's development from 1964 to 1996.

Mondo Reale is a project by general artistic director of Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Hervé Chandès and presents the work of 17 international artists. The exhibition includes sculptures, installations, films and paintings that explore "the unknown" through art and science.

Additional events that are also running until 8 January include an installation called The Future's Present and Under a Coffee Tree by Pritzker Prize winner Francis Kéré; the exhibition Ettore Sottasss. Il calcolo; Alchemic Laboratory, curated by Ingrid Paoletti; the virtual reality experience 1923: Past Futures; and the Game Collection Vol.2, which is a series of video games created especially for the International Exhibition.

An exhibition showcasing the work of Italian designers, including chairs and artworks
The exhibition La tradizione del nuovo – A tradition of the new focuses on Italian design

"The 23rd International Exhibition aims to be a platform for dialogue and research, an opportunity for exchanges and encounters," said the president of Triennale Milano, Stefano Boeri. "At a time as dramatic and complex as the current, we believe that it is more important than ever to preserve and promote the exchange of ideas, experiences and reflections between different countries and different cultures."

"The great and plural constellation of exhibitions, installations, and events pertaining to Unknown Unknowns. An Introduction to Mysteries does not aspire to gradually conquering the vast territory that escapes our knowledge," Boeri continued. "Rather, it aims to explore with the mindset of those who choose, in the first place, the challenge of empathy, the exclusively human ability to look through the eyes of other living subjects, and of mapping, from these various angles, the boundaries of the contemporary unknown."

For more information, including how to purchase tickets, visit the Triennale Milano's website.

Triennale Milano International Exhibition takes place from 15 July to 11 December 2022 with key exhibitions running until 08th January 2023 at Viale Emilio Alemagna, 6, 20121 Milano, Italy. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

Partnership content

This article was written by Dezeen for Triennale Milano as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.