Gaetano Pesce is back in Milan for an exhibition at the Galleria Luisa Delle Piane which, from November 17 to April 1, thirty years after their debut - puts his famous 'industrial leathers back at center stage. Twelve sheets of polyurethane resin which, mounted on a frame and hung on the walls, make up a path of brightly colored canvases with poetic and enigmatic subjects.
Only a curious mind like that of Gaetano Pesce, always on the edge of creative boundaries, after having traced a path by playing with the colours, volumes and materials of armchairs, vases or tables, could even question paper and canvas, the two classics painters supports.
This is how, and it was in the early 1990s, the 'industrial skins' were born: sheets of polyurethane resin (thin and flexible like sheets of paper, so much so that they can be rolled up) on which Gaetano Pesce paints figures, words , color spots and geometric lines with brushes dipped in the colored resin.
The result is maxi-sheets of resin, similar to synthetic skins, which after thirty years, return to Milan for the exhibition It's nice to continue , from 17 November to 1 April 2023 at the Galleria Luisa Delle Piane (via Giusti 24, Milan).
«Luisa delle Piane was courageous then to propose to me to exhibit industrial leathers during the 1998 Furniture Fair, and she is courageous today to ask me to return with these works, less known than the architectural and design. Especially since some of the pieces on display are unpublished, such as Fish Skin, never exhibited before» begins Gaetano Pesce, whom we reached at his home in New York on the eve of the opening of the Milanese exhibition.
He was in Milan a few weeks ago (born in La Spezia in 1939, the architect, designer and sculptor has lived in New York since the 1980s, ed), now he's back for the inauguration of this exhibition.
Is the bond with Italy always very strong?
Thanks to my work, I have constant opportunities to return to Europe and Italy, the last time I was there for Fashion Week, where I took care of the set-up and seating for the Bottega Veneta fashion show, not so long ago.
But this occasion is special, and more exciting, because it is a return and the continuation of a journey that began years ago, hence the title of the exhibition: It's nice to continue. Luisa Delle Piane was among the first to take an interest in my industrial leathers.
The 'skins' reaffirm his interest in polyurethane resin. When did you discover this material?
The discovery was accidental, during one of my first stays in New York: I was looking for pencils and in a shop I saw a vase made of resin.
Here, I was immediately attracted to this material and its potential because resin is a liquid that becomes solid, it can be treated with a mold, it can be modeled, in short, it is a contemporary, versatile material, resistant - much more than traditional ones - and it is interesting how it reacts to light.
From resin furnishings, such as the Golgotha, Broadway or Nobody's Chair, to paintings, the step does not seem very short...
It was an approach that lasted years until, after having created many objects with this material, I realized that I could use it as a support for painting, making an ancient gesture on a brand new material. Paper and canvas seemed so obsolete to me!
How did you choose the 12 works on display in Milan?
They are works made at different times, from the 1990s to today, some created especially for the occasion and never exhibited before. I am particularly fond of two: Este and The foot.
Este is the name of the small town in the province of Padua where I lived up to 15 years and a sort of 'selfie from the past'. It represents myself as a child looking out the window, intent on looking at the Euganean Hills which, however, we do not see because the observer takes their place.
The foot, on the other hand, chosen as the work-manifesto of the exhibition, is one of the works in which I have combined image and word. It is a tribute to a part of the body that is little considered yet very important, the one that allows us to move forward, to discover unknown things, rarely to walk backwards which, in fact, is much more difficult.
On 18 November at 4.30 pm, the day after the inauguration, you will meet the public in the company of Silvana Annicchiarico and Luisa Delle Piane at the ICA Foundation: what will you talk about?
It will be a chat between friends and, I hope, in the presence of many young people and students. An opportunity to tell the genesis of these works but, above all, to gather questions and food for thought from those who follow my work and look at it with different and fresher eyes.
The exhibition, which opens on 17 November at 6.00 pm (Galleria Luisa Delle Piane, via Giusti 24 is free to enter and is open on Saturdays from 3.30pm to 7.30pm and - from Tuesday to Saturday - from 10.30am to 1pm and from 3pm to 7pm. For information, call 023319680.
On November 18th at 4.30pm, at the ICA Foundation (via Orobia 26) the artist will meet the public for a Talk in the company of Silvana Annicchiarico and Luisa Delle Piane (free admission , for information www.fondazioneica.it).