Berlin-based German artist Manfred Pernice developed the sculpturama show especially for the Hauptraum at the Secession. His sculptural works are built or assembled out of simple, sometime painted or sprayed materials including cardboard, chipboard, concrete, and metal, supplemented with text, maps or photographs. Starting from his observations of the urban environment, he highlights its failings and subjects the ordering system of modernity to a fundamental critique. His works set up an interplay between autonomous form and an installation-based, narrative and site-specific character. They deal with good and bad form, with perfection and imprecision, realism and abstraction.
The exhibition title, sculpturama, alludes on the one hand to the panoramalike, near symmetrical layout that articulates the space with lines of sight and interrelation. Immediately in front of the entrance, Pernice positions an architectural sculpture whose form recalls the basic structure of a road bridge. It offers viewers two opportunities for an outlook and overview: at the end of the underpass, through which visitors are channelled, and on the platform above accessed via a hidden staircase at the side.
On the other hand, the title of Pernice’s exhibition refers directly to the theme: the possibilities (and history) of sculpture. Its fundamental properties – proportions, surface structures, material qualities, the relation of volumes to one another, but especially the relationship between sculpture and viewer and the related habits of reception – are dealt with and displayed as in a theme park. The question of physicality and its perception, for example, is illustrated in exemplary form by the two sculptures in the middle of the space, Kaffee u. Kuchen and o. T.. Because they slowly rotate, viewers no longer need to walk round the object in order to see it from all sides. The fact that they likely do so in spite of the growing media power of two-dimensional images is due to an old habit. Becoming aware of this seemingly paradoxical situation leads to the surprise of something that is actually well known: sculpture is three-dimensional!
Curated by Annette Südbeck.
Images courtesy of Secession, Vienna. Photos by Oliver Ottenschläger.