A deconstructed bookshelf and a series of modular armchairs are among the rare and limited-edition furniture designs by the Italian architect and designer Gaetano Pesce on show at New York gallery Friedman Benda.
Age of Contaminations brings together prototypes and realised designs that Gaetano Pesce created between 1968 to 1995: “Age of Contaminations looks back on Pesce’s legacy as a provocateur, rule-breaker, and essential influence on the evolution of contemporary design,” Friedman Benda states.
The title of the exhibition is a reference to a 1972 installation at the Museum of Modern Art that featured Gaetano Pesce‘s work “Project for an Underground City in the Age of Great Contaminations,” a fictionalised archaeological discovery in 3000 BCE of an underground habitat from 2000 BCE.
The selected works are intended to show Pesce’s “radical experimentation” with materiality and production methods. Featuring rough and jagged edges, and playful shapes, he refused to conform to the traditional modern style popular at the time of their making.
“Pesce’s radical experimentation with industrial and everyday materials such as polyurethanes and poured resins broke the mould of standardisation,” (…) “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.” (…) “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 (…)” – Friedman Benda.
On display is a grouping of Yeti Armchairs, a modular furniture collection constructed with polyurethane foam and upholstered with white fabric, detailed with matching buttons.
Also featured in the exhibition are a black version of Gaetano Pesce‘s Up5 chair and a red Up6 pouff. The Italian designer is known globally for his Up furniture collection, modelled after the shape of a woman’s body.
Several custom pieces Pesce created for the private apartment of Italian professor Alberto Carenza are also presented for the first time in the exhibition. One of these works is the “eponymous monumental” Carenza Bookcase, red and black shelving with jagged edges coated in epoxy resin.
Gaetano Pesce: Age of Contaminations is on display at Friedman Benda in New York until 14 December.
Photography by Friedman Benda.
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