Friday, June 10, 2011

Artist of the Month : Pedro Friedeberg, "Waterer of Pirana's"

Gold leaf Sculpture "Hand" Chair, 1980

If you are a huge lover of art, design, or architecture, and you have never been to Mexico City, I highly suggest you take a trip.
 Before I went, I had absolutely no idea how gorgeous some of the architecture was, and knew of some artists from Mexico, but found out about so many more when finally there. 

Pedro Friedeberg was one, and this was before he was on 1st dibs and Todd Merrill Antiques. When he began, his designs were incredibly original. 
I have to tell you something else. In my endless search of artists that I find to feature on my blog, I am always reading "artists statements", and to be honest, most bore the heck out of me, so I usually don't even list them with the feature. As an artist, and I am guessing there might be a few other artists reading this that might agree, it can be quite a struggle to come up with an "artist statement" that is somewhat interesting, authentic, and not full of ego. We need to give the public an idea of what our process is, and how we are inspired, etc...But way to many artists become completely absorbed in the story about them, or make it WAY too long, and just end up reading NARCISSIST. Some I have read are serious, short and too the point, and some are just friggin' delightful, and ARTISTIC, and kinda nuts...This man's artist statement is just that, and one of the best I have ever read. I have put it at the end of this post in it's entirety. 
Side Table with 3 Hands and 3 Feet, Carved Gold Leaf Wood, 1999.
 3 Legged Coffee Table,1999.
 Hand Sculpted snake table...1970

"Caged Saint"

Pedro Friedeberg's, Artist Statement....

"I was born in Italy during the era of Mussolini, who made all trains run on time. Immediately thereafter, I moved to México where the trains are never on time, but where once they start moving they pass pyramids.
My education was first entrusted to a Zapotec governess and later to brilliant mentors such as Mathias Goeritz, who taught me morals, José González, who taught me carpentry, and Gerry Morris, who taught me to play bridge.
I have invented several styles of architecture, as well as one new religion and two salads. I am particularly fond of social problems and cloud formations. My work is profoundly profound.
I admire everything that is useless, frivolous and whimsical. I hate functionalism, post modernism and almost everything else. I do not agree with the dictum that houses are supposed to be 'machines to live in'. For me, the house and it's objects is supposed to be some crazy place that make you laugh.
Americans do not understand Mexicans and viceversa. Americans find Mexicans unpunctual, they eat funny things and act like old-fashioned Chinese. When André Breton came to Mexico he said it was the chosen Country of surrealism. Breton saw all kinds of surrealist things happen here every day. The surrealists are more into dreaming, into the absurd and into the ridiculous uselesness of things. My work is always criticizing the absurdity of things. I am an idealist. I am certain that very soon now humanity will arrive at a marvelous epoch totally devoid of Knoll chairs, jogging pants, tennis shoes and baseball caps sideway use, and the obscenity of Japanese rock gardens five thousand miles from Kyoto.
I get up at the crack of noon and, after watering my pirañas, I breakfast off things Corinthian. Later in the day I partake in an Ionic lunch followed by a Doric nap. On Tuesdays I sketch a volute or two, and perhaps a pediment, if the mood overtakes me. Wednesday I have set aside for anti-meditation. On Thursdays I usually relax whereas on Friday I write autobiographies."      

 I LOVE him.... He created a religion, and 2 salads for god's sake...

Pedro Friedeberg (b. 1937) In Mexico during the 1960’s social realism was the dominant force in painting while the international style influenced architecture and design. Despite a body of work that rejects these aesthetics, Pedro Friedeberg has become one of Mexico’s most cherished and collected artists/designers of the 20th Century. As a young architecture student Friedeberg joined Dada-inspired art groups. During his lifetime he would produce a significant amount of fine art, however his earliest pieces were furniture. His work synthesizes a myriad of influences including Art Nouveau, Medieval, Aztec symbols, Gaudi, Mexican folk art and Surrealism. Gold hands and feet are two of the most consistent elements in his work. They appear as patterns in his paintings and are expertly carved and gilded on his furniture. Friedeberg’s famous Hand & Foot chair manages to be both visually amusing and a major sculptural accomplishment. Another one of his beloved creations, first done in the mid-1960’s, is the “Butterfly Chair”, an early paradigm of art furniture. Both of these pieces are icons of 20th Century furniture and have been repeatedly photographed appearing in numerous publications including Art in America, Vogue and Architectural Digest. Friedeberg normally works with mahogany for carved pieces and his furniture pieces are typically signed. Museums including Musée du Louvre-Pavillon Arts Décoratifs in Paris, The Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and the Museum of Modern Art in New York hold pieces of Friedeberg’s work in their permanent collections.

See more on Pedro's website here. These pieces are available on 1st dibs, and Todd Merrill Antiques.

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