German sculptor Manfred Pernice connects aspects of architecture, urban planning, and everyday esthetics with questions of time, place and politics to create an oeuvre that is held together by a complex web of formal and thematic threads. Appropriately described as a “liquid narrative,” the building blocks of Perniceʼs language feel immediately familiar.
His sculptures present themselves as existing within an everyday context recognizable to the viewer as, say, containers, displays, tables, platforms, stages or entire living rooms. Sculptural elements are cut from plywood and similar composite materials, painted or raw, allowing insight into their own physical construction, and in combination with found objects, such as books, photographs, brochures and particularly ceramics, constitute Perniceʼs distinctly recognizable language.
In his fifth solo show at Anton Kern Gallery, Pernice presents ten related sculptures. They are built as freestanding tables or wall-boxes; curtains and colored Plexi glass reveal a variety of objects culled from the artistʼs place of work in Berlin and from recently visited Cuba. Some of the archival materials relate to German painters August Macke and Konrad Klapheck, or to Treptower Park, an area of Berlin that features a Soviet war memorial built to the design of the Soviet architect Yakov Belopolsky to commemorate the 50,000 Red Army soldiers who fell in the Battle in Berlin in April–May 1945. It served as the central war memorial of East Germany. Pernice recomposes materials of various origins for a new aesthetic value and returns them into the context of art. Anyone working with sculpture today, according to Pernice, also faces "questions of the day before yesterday." Todayʼs expanded concept of sculpture with its simultaneously available materials, forms and histories always leads back to classic questions of sculpture: How is something built or formed, and which decisions were made?
Solo exhibitions of Pernice's work have been organized by SMAK Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent; Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin (both 2011); Wiener Secession, Vienna; Modern Art Oxford, Oxford; Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg (all 2010); Neues Museum in Nuremberg; Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin (both 2008); Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2007); Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York, NY (2004) Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich (2003), Sprengel Museum Hanover (2001), Portikus in Frankfurt; Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin (both 2000), and Musee d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris (1998). His work has also been included in major exhibitions such as 29° Bienal de São Paulo - Bienal de Sao Paulo, São Paulo (2010); Carnegie International (2008); Skulptur-Projekte Münster (2007); Seville Biennale (2006); Venice Biennale (2001 and 2003); Documenta 11 (2001); Manifesta 3 (2000); Berlin Biennale (1998); and Lyon Biennale (1997).