From October 24 through December 14, Friedman Benda will present a critical survey of the Italian architect, designer and visionary Gaetano Pesce, examining the pivotal period of his career from 1968 to 1992. Age of Contaminations will bring together rarely seen iconic works from key historic collections and groundbreaking early prototypes that have been assembled over the past decade.
By refusing to adhere to traditional boundaries between architecture, sculpture, and conceptual art, Pesce's cross-contamination between genres consequentially altered the landscape of design and was a catalyst for the establishment of the contemporary studio practice.
Throughout his career, "[Pesce's] forte has been 'to give form to the form of life,'" writes art historian Germano Celant, challenging how things could be made and why. Contemporaneous to the investigations of the Italian Arte Povera movement, Pesce's radical experimentation with industrial and everyday materials such as polyurethanes and poured resins broke the mold of standardization.
Inventing techniques that would produce variable results that embraced flaws and mistakes, he refused to follow the modernist ideology of regularity and perfection dominant at the time. "I wanted to make people understand that creativity resides in rejecting previously seen models, and this proceeds in the absence of repetition... It's a first step toward creativity, inspiring people to make an autonomous gesture, a different one each time," said Pesce during a 1991 interview.
Age of Contaminations will feature a grouping of rare Yeti Armchairs (1968), the first armchair Pesce produced, the iconic "Moloch" Floor Lamp (1970-1), his inaugural collaboration with the manufacturer Bracciodiferro, and the earliest example of his groundbreaking Golgotha Table (1972).
Photo: Seaweed Chair by Gaetano Pesce, Courtesy of Friedman Benda Gallery