“Finally, we have (again) become mush in which every gesture and glaring manifestation is only a bumbleing [sic] mumble, an overcooked pea.” In the short but colorful statement that accompanies his fifth solo exhibition at this gallery, German sculptor Manfred Pernice characterizes the nine sculptures on display as “sticky baking-mixture pizza-pezzi.” Like Ray’s slices, each work has the same basic structure but is “topped” with a different mixture of additions, diverse found objects taking the place of mushrooms or pepperoni. By incorporating a wide variety of ingredients, Pernice aims to emerge triumphant from the “mushy soup” of contemporary image culture—though it’s not immediately apparent how these archived bits ’n’ bobs were selected, or exactly how they function within the artist’s ongoing investigation of contemporary urban life.
Clustered in one half of the gallery, Pernice’s “pezzi” take the form of large, shallow plywood boxes, some of them faced with Plexiglas. A few are wall-mounted, others lie on the floor or on trestles. Roughly finished, their battered look is consistent with their contents, a seemingly arbitrary collection of flotsam and jetsam salvaged from the neighborhood around the artist’s Berlin studio and during his trips abroad. Small paintings and drawings are thrown in with toys and posters, food and drink packages, sheets of plastic and carpeting. One box houses a collage of floral photographs arranged on a patterned tablecloth. There are references here for the discovering, but such is the project’s inclusiveness that many viewers may suffer from an anxiety of choice. Sometimes, you just want cheese.—Michael Wilson