Review of Pedro Friedeberg, Mandril y Alefato, FIFTY24MX Gallery, Mexico

Review of Pedro Friedeberg, Mandril y Alefato, FIFTY24MX Gallery, Mexico

It’s hard to make sense out of Pedro Friedeberg’s work, perhaps because a reasonable explanation for his whacky perspective is nearly impossible to come across: “I get up at the crack of noon and, after watering my piranhas, I breakfast off things Corinthian. Later in the day I partake in an Ionic lunch followed by a Doric nap.” Friedeberg is the last remaining member of the original Surrealist Movement founded by André Breton, his signature style of architecture-inspired compositions have become an obligated reference for this type of aesthetic, both in Latin America and in the rest of the world.

At 76 years of age, the artist is still producing fresh and mesmerising works that stay true to the artist’s eccentric nature. His newest exhibition Mandril y Alefato, currently on view at FIFTY24MX‘s new gallery space, is living proof that Friedeberg is still more relevant than ever when it comes to pushing the boundaries of his own aesthetic. The show explores themes such as the eclectic deracination of the image portrayed in the juxtaposition of cultural symbols that form contradicting dialogues. Balance has always been a forte for Friedeberg, whether it is metaphorical or aesthetical, his work is adorned by contrasting elements that build upon each other in order to portray a landscape of imaginary proportions.

In Mandril y Alefato Friedeberg contrasts the Hebrew alphabet with a somewhat modern bestiary, representing exponential and fragmented creatures that avoid any logic or syllogism during their conception. At first sight, the configurations of Friedeberg’s landscapes may seem simple, but as you dissect the elements that form them one comes to realise that these odds and ends have a purpose that lies beyond the obvious. The artist’s masterful approach to construction may be somewhat compared to op art, but once you get to fully appreciate his intentions, you realise that perfection is something he often strives away from.

Friedeberg has crowned the ridiculous and made wonders out of invisible thread, his influence in aesthetics has always been accompanied by an acute sense of humour that stays up-to-date with current situations. His way of critique is enigmatic to say the least; one has to look beyond the obvious in order to find the hidden message in each of his works. If perception can be fooled then leave it to Friedeberg to delight our eyes and minds with his unique oeuvre that never seems to stop evolving.

Rodrigo Campuzano

Pedro Friedeberg, Mandril y Alefato, until 19 July, FIFTY24MX, Colima 159, Col. Roma Norte, México.

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1. Pedro Friedeberg, Las Pirámides de Montessori. Acrylic on museum board. Courtesy of the artist and FIFTY24MX Gallery.