Step Into a Fantastical Imaginary City Designed by Pedro Friedeberg, Mexico’s Most Famous Living Surrealist

His new exhibition is full of wonders.

Detail view of sculptures by Pedro Friedeberg. Courtesy of MAIA Contemporary.
Detail view of sculptures by Pedro Friedeberg. Courtesy of MAIA Contemporary.

Pedro Friedeberg calls himself the last of the Mexican Surrealists—and with good reason.

Along with Frida Kahlo, Friedeberg, who was born in 1936, was one of the only Mexican artists recognized by André Breton as a true Surrealist. (Breton was supposedly fascinated by Friedeberg’s famous “hand chair”.)

Now in his 80s, Friedeberg still dwells on the subject matter that has long fascinated him: baroque architecture, bizarre palatial constructions, and Escher-like passages. He melds these with influences as varied as Art Nouveau ornamentation and Op Art painting.

Portrait of Pedro Friedeberg. Photograph by Hans Paul Brauns.by Hans Paul Brauns.

Pedro Friedeberg seated in his famed “hand chair.” Photograph by Hans Paul Brauns.

As a young man, Friedeberg trained as an architect, and the qualities of industrial drawings are readily evident in his work. But employed for the sake of imagination, these constructions come off as playful and delightfully useless.

The artist’s new exhibition, “Fifípolis, now on view at MAIA Contemporary in Mexico City, depicts renderings of an imaginary development for the 21st century.

Encompassing painting, sculpture, and graphics, these latest creations are decadently cluttered with colors and symbols referencing ancient scriptures, Aztec Codices, Catholicism, Hinduism, and the occult. Altogether, they create the dizzying effect of an opulent shrine to urbanism.

See images from “Fifípolis” below.

Pedro Friedeberg, Síndrome de Asesoría Clandestina Hipermetafísica (2018). Courtesy of MAIA Contemporary.

Pedro Friedeberg, Síndrome de Asesoría Clandestina Hipermetafísica (2018). Courtesy of MAIA Contemporary.

Pedro Friedeberg, Tríptiko Triptikistiko (2018). Courtesy of MAIA Contemporary.

Pedro Friedeberg, Tríptiko Triptikistiko (2018). Courtesy of MAIA Contemporary.

 

Pedro Friedeberg, Zapatería Amigos de Clara Schumann (2019). Courtesy of MAIA Contemporary.

Pedro Friedeberg, Zapatería Amigos de Clara Schumann (2019). Courtesy of MAIA Contemporary.

Pedro Friedeberg, Pagoda Cabalística Orgánica Frenológica (2019). Courtesy of MAIA Contemporary.

Pedro Friedeberg, Pagoda Cabalística Orgánica Frenológica (2019). Courtesy of MAIA Contemporary.

Pedro Friedeberg, Caballo no habitable (2018). Courtesy of MAIA Contemporary.

Pedro Friedeberg, Caballo no Habitable (2018). Courtesy of MAIA Contemporary.

Pedro Friedeberg, Serpiente Criptológica Angelical (2003). Courtesy of MAIA Contemporary.

Pedro Friedeberg, Serpiente Criptológica Angelical (2003). Courtesy of MAIA Contemporary.

Installation view of "Fifipolis," 2019. Courtesy of MAIA Contemporary.

Installation view of “Fifípolis” 2019. Courtesy of MAIA Contemporary.

Installation view of “Fifipolis,” 2019. Courtesy of MAIA Contemporary.

Installation view of “Fifípolis” 2019. Courtesy of MAIA Contemporary.

Pedro Friedeberg: Fifípolis” is on view at MAIA Contemporary in Mexico City through January 19, 2020.


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