Descargar aplicación UNESCO
About

The Hand Chair by Pedro Friedeberg

Born in Florence in 1936, Pedro Friedeberg moved to Mexico City at the age of three where he has lived for more than seven decades. Friedeberg, a remarkable painter, sculptor and designer of fantastic furniture was born into a family of illustrated German Jewish parents. An admirer of dreamy prints and drawings by M.C. Escher and Piranesi, a lover of Gaudi's fantastic architecture, of sacred geometry, of kinetic art charged with universal symbolism. After studying architecture, Friedeberg worked with the artist Mathias Goeritz being in contact with the Mexican Modern Movement that later fed his surrealistic rebellion. Along with Frida Kahlo, Friedeberg was recognized by André Bretón as part of the Surrealist Movement. He belongs to the group of surrealists, along with Remedios Varo, Edward James and Mathias Goeritz, and rebelled against the inflexible manifesto of the Modern Movement.

In the dream I wandered through a palace where all the furniture was made of living anatomical parts, something similar to what is seen in Cocteau's film The Beauty and the Beast.
— Pedro Friedeberg1

Inspired by his dream, Friedeberg set out to design a wooden chair, one that would contrast with the characteristics of contemporary furniture: functional and modern. His proposal employed two elements of human anatomy that would be integrated into one piece of furniture: the foot and the hand. The foot would serve as the base of the chair, the palm of the hand as the seat and the five fingers as the back. What would come to be known as the Silla-Mano—the Hand-Chair—represented for Friedeberg the most stable elements of the human body.

“En el sueño vagaba por un palacio donde todos los
muebles estaban construidos a
base de partes anatómicas
vivas, algo similar a lo que se
ve en la película de Cocteau La bella y la bestia"[1]

—Pedro Friedeberg

With this creative exercise in surrealism, Friedeberg asked José González—a carpenter—to build the object out of wood, resulting in an exquisite mahogany piece. George Keller, an art collector of Swiss origin and director of the renowned Carstairs Gallery in New York, was the first to acquire a pair of these chairs after seeing them in Friedeberg's home. When the writer, poet and father of surrealism André Breton saw the Silla-Mano, he immediately welcomed Friedeberg to the inner circles of the surrealists. The Hand-Chair is still being built, though out of different materials, sizes and colors; some iterations are used as chairs while others are only sculptural art pieces, reflecting the interest of new generations in an object that has been recognized as a classic in international design. The Silla-Mano demonstrates the relevance of Friedeberg’s artistic dialect and still retains its provocative and reflective qualities within the realm of creativity.

Con este ejercicio creativo, de carácter surrealista, Friedeberg pidió a José González que construyera el objeto en madera, lo que dio como resultado una excelente obra de caoba.

George Keller, un coleccionista de arte de origen suizo y director de la reconocida galería Carstairs de Nueva York, fue el primero en adquirir un par de estas piezas tras haberlas visto en la casa de Friedeberg. Cuando el escritor, poeta y padre del Surrealismo, André Breton vio la Silla-Mano, inmediatamente dio la bienvenida a Friedeberg a los círculos íntimos de los surrealistas.

La Silla-Mano todavía se produce en diferentes materiales, tamaños y colores; algunos ejemplares se destinan a usarse como sillas y otros, como meros objetos escultóricos, enfocándose en el interés de las nuevas generaciones en un objeto ya reconocido como clásico en el diseño internacional, lo que demuestra que el lenguaje icónico utilizado en el arte de Friedeberg sigue siendo relevante y provoca y eleva esta creación a objeto de culto en el ámbito de la creatividad.

Incident name La Silla - Mano
Period Ca. 1960
Author Pedro Friedeberg
  1. Cervantes, José, De vacaciones por la vida memorias no autorizadas del pintor Pedro Friedeberg. (México, Trilce Ediciones, 2011), 153