architect: Gaetano Pesce
“Polymorphously perverse” is not normally a term that pops to mind when discussing architectural innovation, but when it comes to the exuberant, messy work of Gaetano Pesce, space has many seats of pleasure. Who else but Pesce could create an environment for a major retrospective exhibition (of his own work) in a major cultural institute (the Centre Pompidou), with a question mark-shaped plan and content that referenced everything from peep-show booths and plastic bubbles to minestrone soup? “I love how homely it is”, exclaimed Bausman. “there’s such a weird saturation of color and material that it pulls you into a deep space. It makes you question your environment on so many levels”. Situated primarily in a large space that had been enclosed by sizable bales of recycled fabric that look like compressed mattresses or the padded walls of an insane asylum, the exhibition does some serious damage to preconceived notions of how to show design and architecture within the museum context. Making sure that no two visitors experienced the same thing, Pesce captured his oversized creations in transparent air bladders that inflated and deflated randomly, and placed smaller objects in wooden niches that were variously revealed and concealed by a velvet curtain.
Those who were truly fortunate got to experience the smell of minestrone soup wafting through the already giddily sensual space. “I see an almost infantile sense of pleasure in the texture and softness of the materials, “ said Smith of the brightly colored resins and fabrics that put one in mind of a talented but wild-spirited child’s playroom. “The engagement is that it’s frightening,” confessed Scogin. “here’s a guy who operates in a certain medium, and he’s relentless with it. There’s a consistency to it that I just really admire.”