"Each one has its own weight, story and place, within Mari’s inner scenery, as he regularly uses the paperweights to keep in place the thousands of sheets of paper covered in sketches and ideas that flow around his studio."
Enzo Mari 's 'The Intellectual Work', an exhibition at Tanya Leighton
'The Intellectual Work' brings together a selection of paperweights Mari has been collecting for decades. They are both objets trouvés (industrial products, multiples, metal joints, discarded pieces of glass, door knobs, wood and metal samples, fossils…) and sculptural readymades assembled by Mari himself. Each one has its own weight, story and place, within Mari’s inner scenery, as he regularly uses the paperweights to keep in place the thousands of sheets of paper covered in sketches and ideas that flow around his studio.
But this is not the exhibition of a collection, nor the mere recreation of an atelier setting. Instead, the installation works as an ‘allegory’ – in Mari’s own words – of the essence of his practice, as much as of the practice of whoever undertakes ‘intellectual work’.
Throughout his life - as an artist, designer, teacher, and theoretician - Mari has investigated the role of the intellectual, the cooperation of thinking and doing, heads and hands, words and things. At the core of his working method there is the habit of saying no, an awful lot of nos (to himself in the first place, since he’s constantly unsatisfied about the results of his quest for function and beauty, but also to the pressing needs of the market). By building piles of mistakes and refusals, and holding them still with paperweights, Mari sets aside whatever doesn’t seem good enough, or durable enough, or ethical enough, in his own views, every day.
It’s within this context, that the installation will open up a series of subsequent ‘dialogues’ with the works – created specifically for this occasion – by three artists (and Mari admirers) equally challenged and informed by the notion of ‘intellectual work’ and its possible declinations: Jason Dodge, Tim Rollins and K.O.S, Pavel Büchler.
all text from Tanya Leighton's site here.
all photos by Carlo Lavatori
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