Artwork Detail

Foundation, Fundament '09
German, b. 1963
Wood, paint, ceramic, concrete, brick, steel, and paper
69 3/4 x 20 x 20 "
University purchase, Parsons Fund, 2009
WU 2009.0006 a-b
Manfred Pernice is well known for his large-scale sculptures and installations made out of common materials such as cardboard, particleboard, plywood, and concrete, as well as for his multimedia installations. Alluding to architectural models and incorporating everyday objects, his abstract sculptures are spatial interventions into modernist systems of classification and segmentation. Foundation, Fundament ’09 renders this abstract notion of sculptural practice more concrete. The slab of massive cement, a metal rod pierced diagonally through its middle, is the fragment of a building from a construction site in East Berlin; the pedestal on which it sits is patched together out of different tiles, recalling the mix of creativity and dilapidation induced by the East German economy of scarcity. Reframing architectural elements as readymades, this work not only alludes to East German quotidian culture and its communist past, but also counteracts the post-Wall disappearance and willful demolition of that culture. By placing on a pedestal within a museum that which has been discarded, Pernice enacts the double move of detachment and preservation typical of his overall sculptural approach—an approach that led frieze magazine to call him “a memorialist of the forgettable.” [Permanent collection label, 2015]