Andrea Branzi. Contemporary Dna.

2 Mar 2023 – 22 Apr 2023

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

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Friedman Benda is pleased to present Contemporary DNA, seminal Italian designer and architect Andrea Branzi’s third solo exhibition with the gallery. An exemplary social thinker and educator, Branzi has been a fundamental voice in post-war and contemporary architecture and design, in Italy and abroad, since the mid 1960s. A culmination of his intuitive processes of turning research into physical form, this comprehensive and far-reaching exhibition unveils three new bodies of work: RootsGerminal Seats, and Buildings. Presciently taking stock of our time, these works are composed of exceptions and variations throughout Andrea Branzi’s artistic evolution.

          Throughout his influential career, Branzi maintained a fascination with human and object interactions, exploring them through radical and poetic interpretations of the domestic space. Understanding objects as living presences in the human habitat allowed Branzi to establish complex psychological, symbolic, and poetic relationships with them. He believed that objects were never just simple tools, but fragments of an anthropological universe, “a universe at the same time material and immaterial, functional and superfluous, about which we still know very little.”

          In the mid-eighties, two decades after co-founding the radical architecture and design studio Archizoom, Branzi turned away from the highly-stylized aesthetic of postmodern design to embrace a movement he called “neoprimitivism.” Culminating in his seminal Animali Domestici (1985-1986) series, this exploration combined rectilinear and industrial sensibilities with natural elements such as logs, sticks, and wood offcuts. A body of work, Branzi says, that was never rational correspondence, and always primitive exploration.

          The tensions between commodified and natural, gestural and methodical, artisanal and industrial, landscape and architecture, are most recently explored in Roots and Germinal Seats. Consisting of sticks and driftwood, Roots points to what has been abandoned and is now preserved as a relic of a distant time. Noble memories that we protect in cages; the roots of our aesthetic values. The bamboo in Germinal Seats is colorful yet precise. It guides us towards a rich and orderly world; an infinite architecture that belongs to thought.

          The objects Branzi is interested in are not simply defined by their rational functions, but by the ways in which they reconstitute space; a space that is both physical and immaterial, present and mnemonic. The cabinets in the Buildings series are vessels to be filled with personal objects from daily life: plates, books, bottles, pots. With these works, Branzi makes evident that the true urban experience is not composed of architecture, but of the presence of micro-environments in human memory.

          The exhibition also features a continuation of Branzi’s signature paper lamps — some now accented with bamboo and maple leaves.

          A celebration of Andrea Branzi’s groundbreaking, continuously challenging, and joyful work, this survey reminds us, in Branzi’s words, that the sacredness of objects “is linked to the sacredness of man: they continue to live beyond the scope and time of their daily use. They have no knowledge of the night because in the night they survive, unmoving, unchanging, alive even after their own death.”

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Andrea Branzi


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