M+B is pleased to present Tetragrammoebius, a solo exhibition by Mexican artist Pedro Friedeberg in conjunction with Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles/Latin America. The exhibition marks the artist's first solo gallery exhibition in Los Angeles in over three decades and includes recent paintings, furniture, textiles, drawings and sculptures that provide insight into the artist's singular vision. The show runs from September 23 to October 28, 2017, with an opening reception on Saturday, September 23 from 6 to 8 pm.
Pedro Friedeberg is one of the most widely celebrated living artists in Mexico. Born in 1936, he has maintained a prolific and remarkable artistic practice for the last sixty years, and his influence can be felt across generations of artists. While he is best known for his iconic Hand Chair (first designed in 1962), Friedeberg's work extends beyond furniture and design to visually intricate paintings, drawings and sculptures. All of these works point to the elegant precision, irreverence and iconoclasm that have garnered him cult-like status outside of Mexico; and in recent years, the long overdue critical recognition as one of the most significant artists in Latin America.
Over the course of his six decade career, Friedeberg has developed a formal universe that brings together various iconographies and influences from Op Art, Surrealism, Pop Art and architectural design to religious symbology evoking Catholicism, Hinduism, Aztec codices and signs of the occult. The title of the exhibition references Hebrew scripture and the sacred geometry of the Moebius strip and speaks to Friedeberg's pastiche approach of marrying wide-ranging cultures and interests into his work.
Born in Italy to German-Jewish parents, Friedeberg, and his mother fled to Mexico City during World War II. First studying architecture, Friedeberg shifted to art with the encouragement of his mentor Mathias Goeritz, a post-war figure who was critical in bringing Mexico to the larger international art world. Friedeberg soon became part of a legendary group of Surrealist artists including Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo known for rejecting the social and political art dominant at the time. With their influence and the influx of Pop Art in the 1960s, Friedeberg's work is often absurdist in tone, a critique on high/low cultural hierarchies.
In this way, Friedeberg's objects such as his signature Hand Chair and Butterfly Chair are a perfect amalgam of that mixing of the fantastical with the everyday. On view alongside his sculpture and design objects are the artist's rarely exhibited paintings and drawings, which to some extent, have been overshadowed by the success of his furniture designs. These works play a key role in Friedeberg's multidisciplinary practice: the densely patterned compositions-with their intricate architectural spaces, ideograms and repeating visual systems-create layers of meaning within each image.
Pedro Friedeberg (b. 1936 Florence, Italy) was the subject of a major retrospective at the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City in 2009. His work is currently on view in three other PST: LA/LA exhibitions: Found in Translation: Design in California and Mexico, 1915-1985 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Another Promised Land: Anita Brenner's Mexico at the Skirball Cultural Center; and How to Read El Pato Pascual: Disney's Latin America and Latin America's Disney at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture. Friedeberg's work can be found in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Musée du Louvre, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; Museo Jumex, Mexico City; Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City; Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, among many others. Friedeberg lives and works in Mexico City, and this is the artist's first solo exhibition with the gallery.