Critics’ Picks

View of “Manfred Pernice,” 2016. From left: Vita Activa (Garbage Can), Vita Activa 1 (Cylinder with Metal Tree),  Vita Activa 2 (Prism with Display Case), Vita Activa 3 (Cylinder with Box and Book), all 2016.

View of “Manfred Pernice,” 2016. From left: Vita Activa (Garbage Can), Vita Activa 1 (Cylinder with Metal Tree), Vita Activa 2 (Prism with Display Case), Vita Activa 3 (Cylinder with Box and Book), all 2016.

Mexico City

Manfred Pernice

Lulu
Bajio 231 Colonia Roma, Cuauhtemoc
February 6–April 3, 2016

This gallery inaugurates its expansion with a show by German artist Manfred Pernice. His first solo exhibition in Mexico City is rife with bright colors, found objects, and construction materials, which together result in ambiguous spatial constructions evoking Mesoamerican architecture with a modernist flavor. This manifests best in Cassette Lumex, 2016, an installation that recalls an ancient ball court with four trapezoid-shaped MDF bench-like structures—some trimmed with images of the artist’s works—that frame three rubber balls and the floor. This piece, which avoids the neatness of the white cube, given the marks of previous shows left around it, induces the feeling of being immersed in a playground but also in one of the artist’s signature “Cassette” works. Hung in the foyer of the gallery, one of them, Cassette # 55 (Green), 2016, consists of metal mounts with a glass covering containing printed material such as a German newspaper clipping and Mexican art postcards—all loosely pasted.

In the second and newest room of the gallery, the four-particleboard sculptures of the series “Vita Activa,” 2016, have a fuzzy function: Some act as display cases, others as trash cans, but all are full of surprising secondhand items. Their forms bring to mind the Giants of Tula—monumental figures built by the Toltec culture in Mexico during the tenth to the twelfth centuries. Besides these containers, found immediately after walking through the gallery’s entrance, there is nothing in the rest of the room, fostering a link between the street and the exhibition space. Pernice’s droll and unfussy exhibition continues his ongoing explorations of vernacular architecture and display design, assembling a chain of associations and confrontations between place, history, and objects.