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Design School: Pedro Friedeberg

While waiting for a series of talks in the Ayala Museum to begin, I wandered into the Mexico: Fantastic Identity exhibit that was currently ongoing in the ground floor. It contained Mexican art and photography from the FEMSA Collection (FEMSA is a Latin American beverage company) and its artists were important figures in the 20th century. It runs until November 9 so you still have this week to check it out.

I recognized a lot of the paintings on display but I was drawn to this painted wooden piece that had geometric patterns and carved hands on it. I wasn’t able to jot down the name of the artwork as the talk I was there for was about to start but I remembered the artist’s name and figured I could always look him up online. The artist is surrealist Pedro Friedeberg.

His themes are eccentric and his religious and occult references got me fascinated. Pedro Friedeberg also had a background in architecture hence the structure and geometrics in his work. I can’t look at his paintings for too long as I’m afraid that it would make my head spin.

As I delved in further, I also discovered that he’s the guy responsible for the “hand chair.” You know what I’m talking about — that giant hand that supports your butt as you sit on it. It’s so absurd but you can’t look away. It’s ubiquitous enough in pop culture that I’ve seen replicas in the roadside furniture stalls in Quezon City and there’s a red version of it in Buster Bluth’s room in Arrested Development. Designers Kelly Wearstler and Jonathan Adler have a fondness for it too.

Photos Courtesy of Pattern Bank, Juxtapoz, Eclectic Cool, iCollector, and Elle Decor

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