Pedro Friedeberg was born in Italy to German-Jewish parents, but came to Mexico with his mother as a small child to flee the Nazi regime in WWII. He first studied architecture, moving on to art-making under the guidance of his mentor Mathias Goeritz. He became a key figure in the Surrealist movement, being officially recognised by its founder Andre Breton. However, Friedeberg is probably most famous in the West for his hand chair, a design he released fairly early on in his career, in 1962. It has since become an iconic piece of furniture that has been widely imitated.
A comprehensive survey of the artist’s work has opened at M+B in LA — the first solo show of Friedeberg’s work in the city. The exhibition includes the famous chair, along with more outrageous pieces, like the psychedelic butterfly chair and an array of tables held up by skulls, hands, feet, and mysterious creatures. In addition to the tables and chairs there are stacked pyramid-like objects. As flamboyant as Friedeberg’s furniture design is, it is his rarely-exhibited drawings and paintings that are the most fascinating. Here, the viewer can identify the wide range of religious and mystical influences that make have made their ways in the artist’s work. From Surrealism and Op Art, to occult symbols, from sacred geometry to ancient Hebrew Scriptures and Christian texts, to emoji, Friedeberg has mined graphic depictions of various belief systems far and wide to produce densely populated visual puzzles.
The exhibition, titled Tetragrammoebius is on display at M+B gallery in LA until 4 November. Find out more, and view more close-ups of the works if you are not living in the sunny city, here.