March 20, 2004
Anton Kern Gallery is proud to present Commerzbank, a new exhibition of artwork by German artist Manfred Pernice. Opening Saturday, February 21st, his third solo show in New York features a new series of bench-like sculptures.
Commerzbank is a collection of objects the artist refers to as Merzbanks for their lineage to Kurt Schwitters’ Merz movement. The term Merz originates from an advertisement used to promote Commerz-und Handelsbank in 1919. In German, ‘bank’ and ‘bench’ are interchangeable; through Merzbanks, Pernice reconnects Merz with its origin. Exhibited as art objects, they exist as hybrid offerings, oscillating between prop and sign, realism and utopia, politics and art. Form and intention allow them to be read as instruments for social critique.
Manfred Pernice constructs sculpture from cardboard, particleboard, concrete and steel; assembly is a device to comment on existing structures, whether they result from buildings, images or furniture. Fragmentary and peripheral by nature, these multifaceted units reconfigure mass, volume and space to engage the viewer in a dialogue that enacts critical allegiance with a site at a specific moment in time. In addition to this show, Manfred Pernice will exhibit “Small Works, 1994 – 2004”, at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York, February 24th to April 3, 2004.