Critics’ Picks

diary, 2008, particleboard, Formica, metal, oil-based enamel paint, varnish, vinyl letters, bottle cap, plastic, ashtray, and two ceramic tiles, 7' 5“ x 21' 10” x 20' 2".

New York

Manfred Pernice

Anton Kern Gallery
16 East 55th Street
February 28–March 29, 2008

diary, 2008, which takes up a good deal of the floor space in German sculptor Manfred Pernice’s fourth solo exhibition at this gallery, consists of two layers of interlocking particleboard panels. Like monuments, the geometric figures rising from the piece’s “platform” are marked with a date. These dates, however, seem to have been selected arbitrarily; they will be familiar only to those able to connect them with events. Unlike On Kawara’s timetables, which are concerned with the divergent relationship between internal and external times, here one does not experience the sense of time’s passing. Instead, diary places markers into a kind of spatial time landscape; depending on the viewer’s position, these moments are either related through sight lines or disappear.

Gottfried Leibniz designed a model of a continuum in which time and event are equally present in a single space, in either “visible” or “latent” form. The real and the possible, and the meaningful and the hidden, are both always present and always powerful. In Pernice’s exhibition, it is the viewer who produces meaning, drawing a line between these “monuments” printed with dates and creating relationships between them. This act resembles ways of remembering both personal and collective: If our “best of all possible worlds” has just one face, a linear logic, then Pernice’s time landscape, with its synchronicity of all possible events, forms a heterotopia, in which the “possibility-of-being” is a part of our reality, and our point of view always conditions what we see.

Translated from German by Jane Brodie.