24 Oct – 15 Dec 2002

The largest and most complete retrospective of the American artist Tom Friedman (St. Louis, Missouri, 1965) in Italy, the exhibition constitutes a wide-ranging survey of the artist’s activity up to the present day, comprising both his earlier works and those executed specifically for the Fondazione Prada exhibition spaces.

Friedman belongs to the generation of artists that, at the beginning of the 1990s, started once again to focus their attention on the world of objects, reacting against the elimination of the physical element and tactile values by Pop art in favor of the image. He took a renewed interest in the fragile and ephemeral universe of everyday objects, making them part of their artistic language, but depriving them of the hyperbole and self-exaltation typical of the 1960s.

By means of small actions of elementary formalization, the artist raises questions regarding the theme of the complexity and heterogeneity of objects, seeking unknown, secret parallels between them. Through a subtle process of mental and physical manipulation, in Friedman’s work spaghetti, hair, chewing-gum, pieces of paper, detergent, dust, toilet paper, bars of soap, and colored construction paper are transformed into new objects characterized by an anti-heroic attitude and, at the same time, by astonishing formal perfection. His investigation focuses on the smallness of things.

The exhibition, conceived by Friedman and curated by Germano Celant, creates an interesting dialogue between the monumental nature of the venue and Friedman’s works, often characterized by a disconcerting reduction in size.

Venue of the exhibition: Fondazione Prada, via Fogazzaro 36, Milan

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