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25 March 2022, 11:54

Art from Italian designer exhibited in Beijing

Photo: chinadaily.com.cn
Photo: chinadaily.com.cn

BEIJING, 25 March (BelTA - China Daily). - Legendary Italian designer's exhibition investigates the discoveries of life, in present and future forms, Lin Qi reports.

With a career spanning nearly six decades in architecture, interior and exterior design as well as urban planning, Italian visionary Gaetano Pesce has created a body of work renowned for a highly personalized style, often marked by intense colors and fantastic, sometimes imperfect, forms and anthropomorphic shapes.

The designs are an expression of the 83-year-old's long-standing and unbounded curiosity, as well as his philosophical thinking from multiple perspectives.

Pesce's innovative ideas have broken down the boundaries between art and design. And he dwells on social phenomena that are in need of improvement, rendering his work with a humanistic sensibility and inspiring thoughts of life in the future.

"I believe our work is done to discover what the future holds. Doing the work I do, I allow the future to become the present. And then, at that moment, our work becomes something that is very innovative," Pesce says.

The legendary designer's investigation into human mentality and the possibilities of life is vividly presented at Gaetano Pesce: Nobody's Perfect, an ongoing exhibition at the Today Art Museum in Beijing that examines his work dating back to the 1960s.

On show are more than 50 pieces, including chairs, desks, lamps and cabinets, signature pieces in his oeuvre, as well as manuscripts, images and documents, to lead viewers into the whimsical world Pesce has constructed.

The exhibition was unveiled in November at the Sea World Culture and Arts Center in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, jointly presented by Design Society and the Gaetano Pesce Office, before traveling to Beijing. It will run at the Today Art Museum until June 30.

These days, Pesce lives and works in New York City, but he shares with his audience in China insights on design and how he works in the studio in several videos presented at the exhibition.

Zhang Ran, the museum director, says Pesce's works evoke discussions on imperfections and differences which reveal the true diversity of the world, in which people will find love and be touched.

Among the iconic designs on show are the Up 5-6 chairs, including an armchair, resembling a female silhouette, and a globe footrest. The items, unveiled in 1969, are considered among the most famous artistic furnishings of the 20th century.

They are displayed with two photos showing Salvador Dali, the Spanish surrealist artist, and fashion designer Pierre Cardin among those admiring the chairs. Meanwhile, a 5.5-meter-high installation version of Up 5-6 is installed in the square outside the museum.

Pesce's designs are not only functional and practical, but are also a statement of a human situation. He expresses in the Up chairs his gratitude to the women in his life, such as his mother and sisters, as well as his concerns with the status of females, hoping they will be free from prejudice and suppression.

Some critics, however, suggest that the design reinforces the stereotypical image of women being subject to domestic chores. Pesce has responded: "That was good for meto see that the object was open to different interpretations."

At the exhibition, people can also see the famous Nobody's Perfect series of chairs, which was first created in 2002. The colorful handmade resin chairs, among which no two are identical and each has its flaws, demonstrate Pesce's concept of embracing diversity, non-repetition and imperfection, and his opposition to the standardization of mass production.

"I don't like repetition. Everything has to be different," he says.

He has said that he likes the kind of beauty that is full of mistakes. "Perfection is for machines. It is obsolete. It is gone."

Pesce is also an avid explorer of different materials, especially newly invented ones. He experiments with them to give each product he designs a color, shape or texture-the only one of its kind.

"I don't like wood, iron, metal or stone. I don't like a set of traditional materials. I like very much the (new) materials from my time, such as elastomer, the huge family of foams-semirigid, rigid, elastic-and resin. It is a way to be sincere.

"The materials I use are liquid. I mix them like making a cream."

In these materials Pesce feels a relationship with, and the spirit of, his time and the liquidity of values. "The values, in my time, go up and down. They disappear and reappear."

Glenn Adamson, a curator and design writer based in New York City, once commented: "Pesce's oeuvre has a cavernous profundity which rewards deep exploration. But paradoxically, his objects also declare themselves on their surfaces, in ways that even a child (perhaps especially a child) can read.

"When Pesce wants to speak to the human condition, he draws a face. When he wants to evoke rapid transformation, let's say in a table or chair, he uses fluid pouring techniques."

Pesce says what defines him is curiosity. "I like to discover, possibly, something that doesn't yet exist. Maybe my design is like that, and my architecture is like that-you can be the judge."

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