A life in color
Interview with Gaetano Pesce: the unconventional creativity of an explorative artist. Repetition is his enemy, reflection his goal.
To box Gaetano Pesce inside a professional label is belittling, because his art is explorative, not made to be synthetically bound. Pesce is a transcendent artist, sculptor, designer, architect, a man who spearheads ideas and an innovator on a continual quest for materials. For over 40 years he has been injecting imagination into objects and structures of all kinds: glasses, vases, sofas, chairs, jewelry, sculptures, tables, plates, lamps, shelves, as well as houses and buildings.
Every object, small or large, faces a theme and embraces meanings that go beyond simple form: his ultimate goal is to create art, yes, but also thoughts that leave room for freed reflection and goes beyond any limits.
The art of Gaetano Pesce goes beyond convention and industrial production, so much so that it refuses the repetition of the work itself, making each piece unique. When the Up 5 chair was presented at the Salone del Mobile in Milan, he clearly demonstrated his philosophy: challenging consolidation and giving art a much-deserved social role, the armchair has a feminine shape. Yet for a footrest, a ball was added. The design is a clear cry against the continued submission and discrimination women still face in many parts of the world. Pesce has lived in New York since 1983 and responded to our questions from his adopted home. The distance, however, has never diluted his deep affection for his birth country.
In Mantua’s splendid Gonzaga Ducal Palace Museum, an exhibition entitled “Architettura e Figurazione” (Architecture and Figure) is underway. An exhibition that self-admittedly seeks to communicate with a non-specialist audience. Shouldn’t this be the rule for any artistic inspiration?
It might be, but it is not. Many people, from politicians to the artists, complicate discussions and hide the lack of ideas behind this fog.
There are no boundaries between art, design and industry. Art is our creative response to the needs of the time in which we live.
Color has always been an important exploratory element for you: complementary or antithetical to the expression of form?
Color is simply the presence of energy and light. Venetian art is an example. It is true that many architects dress in black and so are many people in the art world. This trend represent nothing more than the lack of creativity. Color transmits joy, enthusiasm, optimism, and, as I have said, energy and goodness in our lives!
You support the poetry of irregularity and chance, of imperfection as an added value. How much is this concept shared by society?
I do not know what society thinks. The haphazard events of everyday life influence my work. As you know, values increase and decrease, disappear, and reappear, so there can be no set order.
Do you think that creativity is also somehow a victim of marketing?
In some cases yes, in others, no. For example, I doubt whether it’s creativity but something more like repetition. Creativity is groundbreaking and does not tolerate marketing barriers. History shows that creativity can avoid compromises.
Design seems to be taking an ever-more minimalist approach. But is “Less is more” really a compliment?
It is not a compliment at all, it is boredom. Minimalism is a dying expression that anyone without ideas uses ad-nauseam.
Which design object are you most attached to?
In general, the electric light bulb, because it has opened immense paths to human progress. If you want to refer to one of my objects, I think the UP5&6 chair is the one that gave me the most satisfaction.
Organic Building, Osaka
Maestà tradita, Firenze