A revelatory presentation of the experimental designer Gaetano Pesce is on view at Friedman Benda through December 14. Age of Contaminations is a carefully selected historical sweep provides a close reading of the idiosyncratic designer’s practice over 27 crucial years of the Italian architect's career, beginning with the asymmetrical, modular Yeti Armchairs (1968) and concluding with the otherworldly Ghost Lamps (1995), where recycled paper and polyurethane has been molded into a vaguely figural silhouette. Referencing an early peak of Pesce’s career, the title Age of Contaminations is borrowed from the artist’s installation in The Museum of Modern Art’s historic 1972 exhibition Italy: The New Domestic Landscape, where the designer conceived works for a post-apocalyptic future where humans have settled into subterranean cities to escape an unidentified fallout on the surface. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated e-catalog available for free on the gallery’s website, wherein leading authority on craft and design history Glenn Adamson provides a chronological survey and impassioned critique of Pesce’s career. Perhaps the most interesting designs on view are the least aesthetically pleasing: Dacron-filled fiberglass cloth chairs— Golgotha (1972)—resemble the functional version of a Piero Manzoni painting, and the garish, slick palette of his Golgotha Table (1972) provides a visually grating yet conceptually transcendent testament to Pesce’s Roman Catholic upbringing. The designer’s relentless openness to experimentation and earnest resistance to a consistent style is manifest in one of the more striking works in the exhibition is the monumental Moloch Lamp (1971), deftly placed behind one of the gallery space’s pillars, allowing it to make an even more powerful impact once visitors are confronted with it in closer proximity. Pesce’s most famous design, the Up5 (Donna) chair and Up6 footstool make a requisite appearance just beneath the lamp’s intense metallic glow. The chair, which resembles the breasts or buttocks of the female body, is tethered to its spherical footstool, mimicking a prisoner’s ball and chain. A recent demonstration by the feminist group Non Una Di Meno (Not One Less) during Milan design week expressed explicit opposition to the design, yet Pesce insists that the work was intended to emphasize the restrictions of femininity in order to spur debate, rather than uphold traditional values pertaining to gender. Read the full show recap on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.
Posts tagged with "Gaetano Pesce":
Alberto Giacometti’s Man Pointing
Many years ago I was in Venice during the winter. At that time I was acquainted with Peggy Guggenheim, who invited me, along with Francesca, the mother of my children, for an evening at her house-museum. The Venetian winter is extremely cold and wet, so we arrived to the event with heavy coats. A butler opened the door asking for our coats and hung them on a thin Giacometti sculpture that was in the entrance. I thought that the sculpture would have bent under the weight of the coats, but it actually resisted. That evening my suspicion that art has always been functional and practical, as well as being the bearer of meanings, was confirmed: The Giacometti statue was exhibited as a piece of art during the museum’s open hours, and in the evening, when that place became a private home, it was transformed into a coat rack. Object Lessons is a new collaboration between AN and Façadomy that asks a diverse range of designers and artists to reflect on an object (material or otherwise) that has made a significant impact on their practice. Through personal anecdotes from notable practitioners, the series highlights the myriad ways in which the built environment informs our identities. A previous piece by Nancy Davidson considered a weather balloon. Curated by Riley Hooker/Façadomy
Gaetano Pesce is a designer who works between art and architecture and wants his designs to attack or argue against the results of standardized commercial design. He uses poetry, sometimes humor, color, and texture (in foam, resin, and urethane ) to create whimsical chairs, couches, and domestic art for gallery spaces. Last summer his designs filled the ground floor of Rome’s MAXXI museum in a provocative but fun filled array of his designs. Now you can see a small collection of his objects in a design show at the Allouche Gallery on Spring Street in Soho. This includes a wooden version of his anthropomorphic UP 5&6 chair and ottoman, depicting a female body chained to a ball. First created in 1969, the work is meant to denounce sexism and women’s enslavement to male prejudice. In the front of the gallery there is a fluffy (if Epoxy Resin, Dacron, and Metal can be described in this way) white cloud lamp (top) that looks a bit like a double atomic bomb blast to this reviewer. But then it also looks as if it is about to walk off! Go have a look at the gallery at 115 Spring Street.