Gaetano Pesce at Allouche in SoHo

Gaetano Pesce is a 21st-century Renaissance man.

It seems inevitable. His mother was from Venice, his father from Florence, and he grew up between the two, eventually attending the University School of Architecture in Venice.

As a result, he defines his work in an all-encompassing, classical sense.

“During the Renaissance, there were poems, sculpture and paintings by Michelangelo and Da Vinci,” the painter, sculptor , designer, and architect says. “Bernini did churches, monoliths, palaces, and sculptures.”

Not to mention Rafael.

“Rafael was designing the uniforms for the guards in the Vatican, but he was a city designer too – he designed Vatican City,” he says. “And that’s what I want to say about my work – there is no frame for creating.”

Since the 1960s, he’s been challenging the dogma of traditional aesthetics, and from March 26 to April 25, 60 of his works – including maquettes, furniture, vases and drawings – will be on display at Allouche Gallery on Spring Street in SoHo.

More than simply artwork or functional objects, they are statements too – sometimes religious, sometimes political and sometimes issue-driven.

“Architects should be able to do whatever we ask them to do,” he says. “You can express yourself in any direction, but the important thing is to say something interesting.”

Like his UP Chair that resembles a prehistoric, female fertility figure with a ball attached to it by a chain. His point is that women are prisoners of men’s prejudices and that in some countries, rights of women and people in general are systematically denied.

“A chair may be functional or capable but also an expression of reality,” he says. “Like women suffering, being treated like dogs in certain countries.”

He eschews materials from the past like marble, stone or glass, in favor of resin, foam and urethane. Synthetic materials are much better performers, he says.

So is he an architect, or an artist?

“It’s difficult to say, because it’s time that defines whether you’re an artist or not,” he says. “It depends on your idea as a designer of an object, or a poem, or a movie, or a building.”

Spoken like a true Renaissance man.

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