Melting moments: MOCA presents a selection of Gaetano Pesce’s resin-based works

one of Pesce's two-dimensional cast-resin reliefs, which the artist refers to as ‘industrial skins’
MOCA Pacific Design Center's staging of ‘Molds (Gelati Misti)' in Los Angeles covers four decades of the designer/artist Gaetano Pesce's resin-based works. Pictured: one of Pesce's two-dimensional cast-resin reliefs, which the artist refers to as ‘industrial skins’, entitled La Guerra è Femmina?
(Image credit: moca.org)

When Gaetano Pesce was studying architecture at the University of Venice in the late 1950s and early 60s, he not only participated in the post-Bauhaus art collective Gruppo N, but also worked in the Venetian factories of the Murano glass powerhouses of Moretti, Vistosi and Venini. While the former gave him a formalist and conceptual tool kit (integrating painting, sculpture, architecture and industrial design into a single practice), the latter helped to expand his notions of materiality, and to lay the foundation for his lifelong obsession with resin.

‘What glass and resin have in common is the timing of transformation from liquid to solid and the process of reaction,’ says Pesce, who was also obsessed with the artistic processes found in the culinary world. ‘The kitchen and the art of cooking had a big influence on me and my work with molds. If you think about it, we need small open sky molds to make cookies or cakes, and that’s the same with my works.’

In the early 1980s, when the artist began working with the translucent material, its chemical composition was different than those seen in today’s high-performance resins. ‘It was sensitive to the light. In other words, the light could have changed the transparency, elasticity and solidity of the resin – I can see in my works of 20 years ago that some of their qualities have changed,’ notes Pesce, who created molds for chairs, vases, and lamps – in addition to two-dimensional cast-resin reliefs, which the artist refers to as ‘industrial skins’.

All of these are being exhibited in the four-decade-spanning 'Gaetano Pesce: Molds (Gelati Misti)', at MOCA Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles. The curiosity about Pesce’s processes by curator Bennett Simpson has resulted in a show that examines the narrative behind ‘mass-produced objects where each one has its own quality while differing from each other – the production of the "aleatory" and not standardised series’, says Pesce. ‘Some of the molds are from the 70s when I asked to myself for the first time, "Why objects must be considered alike when people are different?"’

As such, viewers will find examples of vases resembling manicured trees, mangy hirsute mussels and green flames, as well as industrial skins imprinted with images of feet and pregnant mothers, and a red, white and blue prototype chair that would have felt at home in Tommy Hilfiger’s disco-era bell-bottom boutiques.

‘In the exhibition there [are] many vessels because I have dedicated a lot of time and practice in realising these objects. The reason is that I believe they represent something special and important, maybe the most important being the mother’s womb,’ says Pesce, who also considers maternity a prime expression in his iconic doors. ‘This specific part of the feminine body has been a primary element of most of the ancient civilizations, from Mesopotamians to Greeks and Romans, and the Italian Renaissance. This is my contribution to that important branch of art.’

an industrial skin imprinted with an image of a foot titled Il Piede

‘What glass and resin have in common is the timing of transformation from liquid to solid and the process of reaction,’ says Pesce, who was also obsessed with the artistic processes found in the culinary world. Pictured: an industrial skin imprinted with an image of a foot titled Il Piede

(Image credit: moca.org)

Cara Madre, featuring the form of a pregnant woman

The qualities of resin have changed significantly since Pesce began working with the material in the early 80s. Pictured: Cara Madre, featuring the form of a pregnant woman

(Image credit: moca.org)

Vase with Hair

The exhibition also includes a number of Pesce's vases. Pictured: Vase with Hair

(Image credit: moca.org)

Vase Albero, is made to resemble a tree

Another of Pesce's resin vessels, Vase Albero, is made to resemble a tree

(Image credit: moca.org)

Green Flame vase

‘In the exhibition there [are] many vessels because I have dedicated a lot of time and practice in realising these objects. The reason is that I believe they represent something special and important,’ says Pesce. Pictured: Green Flame vase

(Image credit: moca.org)

Even the invitations for the exhibition were cast in resin form, riffing on the title of the show

Even the invitations for the exhibition (pictured) were cast in resin form, riffing on the title of the show

(Image credit: moca.org)

A prototype of a resin chair that mixes red, blue and white together

A prototype of a resin chair that mixes red, blue and white together

(Image credit: moca.org)

The artist, Gaetano Pesce.

The artist, Gaetano Pesce.

(Image credit: Mark O'Flaherty)

INFORMATION

’Gaetano Pesce: Molds (Gelati Misti)’ is on view from 3 September – 27 November. For more information, visit MOCA’s website (opens in new tab)

ADDRESS

MOCA Pacific Design Center
8687 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90069

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