Pedro Friedeberg

James Oles & Jeffrey Collins
Editors: Déborah Holtz & Juan Carlos Mena. Introduction by Luis Carlos Emerich; epilogue by Fernando Gonzáles Gortázar, 2009

Publisher: Fondo de Cultura/Trilce Ediciones.

ISBN: 978-6077663171

Dimensions: 13 x 9 in

Pages: 448

Published on the ocassion of the artist 2009 retrospective at the Fine Arts Museum (Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes) in Mexico City. Pedro Friedeberg, one of the most outstanding living Mexican artists, is virtually impossible to pinpoint. Whether because of the almost baroque density of his images, his multiple mediums of expression (painting, sculpting, serigraphy, furniture making), his vast range of favored genres (landscapes, still life, pure abstraction, architectural drawing) or his production styles (art nouveau, surrealism, and pop art), he is a challenge for any one book to represent. This publication endeavors to do him justice though, relishing in the complexities of his oeuvre. A key part of understanding the man behind the art comes from his own personal encyclopedia, which travels through the Cabala, the work of architect Francesco Borromini, heraldry, religious motifs, and insect art - to name a few. Friedeberg has displayed his art at over 100 solo exhibitions and close to 120 collective expos, in the top museums and galleries of Mexico, France, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, United States, Japan, Canada, Germany, Belgium, Spain and former Yugoslavia. Known for his surrealist work, his most recognizable piece is the Hand-Chair: a sculpture/chair designed for people to sit on the palm, using the fingers as back and arm rests. Friedeberg began studying as an architect, but did not complete his studies as he began to draw designs that disturbed the conventional forms of the 1950s - from the mildly ludicrous to the completely implausible, such as houses with artichoke roofs. However, his work caught the attention of artist Mathias Goeritz who encouraged him to change to a profession where his imagination and unique worldview could by fully realized. Friedeberg became part of a group of surrealist artists in Mexico, which included Leonora Carrington and Alice Rahon: irreverent men and women who rejected the dominant hegemony of sociopolitical art. If Friedeberg's most infamous statement is true, and art is dead because nothing new is being produced, then his startling work must be a resurrection. Text in English and Spanish.