Manfred Pernice

On the top floor Witte de With presents the first solo exhibition by the German artist Manfred Pernice (1963) in the Netherlands. The exhibition is constructed as a total installation in which existing works are combined with new elements to form a ‘cosmology of the harbor’ – an important theme in Pernice’s work.

In the first place this is characterized by architectural sculptures referring to structures of metropoles with their streams of traffic, transportation of goods and spending patterns. More specifically they refer to the changing character of the city of Berlin where Pernice lives and works.

The sculptures are constructed from simple materials like wood and chipboard and consist of composite forms of boxes and containers. They function as an installation which the viewer can walk through but also serve as pedestals or columns on which posters or photographs, newspaper reports, videos and light flashes find a place. The drawings and models preceding the installations which fill the space are often parts of the whole. Although Pernice takes great pains to integrate his installations with the space, his work can not be called site specific. The installations are composed long before they are shown in a specific space. Yet they do not have a definite character; the strength of the installations is on the contrary to be found in the unfinished state of the works. They contribute to a process in which each work has its own place. Some of the works – the larger ones in particular – can be adapted time and again to fit each space and to evoke a new experience.

The exhibition in Witte de With incorporates three large installations; 1a-Dosenfeld ’00 (2000), which could recently be seen in a solo exhibition of Pernice’s work in the Kunsthalle Zürich, is spread out in the various rooms with its combination of low columns and containers; Bad, bath (1999) which was shown earlier in the Anton Kern Gallery in New York for which it was originally produced, takes on a new appearance in Witte de With’s specific exhibition rooms; 109 (1998) is reconstructed and supplemented with new elements for the exhibition.

In Witte de With the works are presented within the theme of the harbor. The desolate atmosphere characterizing that area is enhanced by the many container-works selected by Pernice, such as Bell II (1998) and Block F (1997). One work in the exhibition forms a beacon in the vast container landscape. O. Dose (2000), realized very recently, was situated on a roundabout in Hamburg until a short while ago. The heavy sculpture which gives out a light flash provided the viewers with a place to return to time and again.


  • Manfred Pernice