Pedro Friederberg: Magic Surrealism

In Architecture & Design by Isabella Moreno

Pedro Friedeberg was born in Italy in 1936 as the son of German Jewish parents who emigrated to Mexico when he was 3 years old. He began to study architecture but did not complete his studies when he began to draw designs against the conventional forms of the 50s, even completely unlikely structures.
His work caught the attention of the German sculptor Mathias Goeritz, who encouraged him to continue his career as an artist. Although his work finds echoes in two of the most exciting artistic movements of the POP and Op Art of the 60s, it is more related to late Surrealism. In particular, it reveals his close contacts with the main European surrealists who also found refuge in Mexico: Leonora Carrington, Kati Horna, Edward James, Alice Rahon and Remedios Varo, who were irreverent and who rejected the social and political art that was dominant in time. .

Pedro Friedeberg was also deeply inspired by Goeritz, especially in his Dadaist tendencies, which found expression in the avant-garde group known as “The Fed-Up ones” (the “Hartistas”) of the 1960s. Friedeberg’s work re-combines all these influences into something completely unique and unequivocally HIS. This is an aspect that makes people admire and become more engaged with his work .

 He is definitely an accomplished painter but he is also world renowned for his iconic furniture designs, especially the “butterfly chair” and the “hand chair“:both pieces were originally designed in the 1960s as a rejection of aesthetics and international / modernist functionalism current that was happening. After designing his first chair, Friedeberg went on to design tables, sofas and armchairs. This work, together with the obsessively crowded and meticulously detailed canvases created an entire Universe of his own.

You can find references to the Tantric scriptures, the Aztec codices, Catholicism, Hinduism and the symbols of the occult. In 1963, he began to make totally sculptural works of distorted bodies with appendices taken from religious statues found in antique shops and markets. Pedro Friedeberg’s pieces are part of the most important collections, private or public, from around the world. He is an artist who has lived most of his life in Mexico and has delighted all the art and design lovers with his creations in different Art and Design exhibitions. Undoubtedly a reference for many of the current creators nationally and internationally.


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