Review: Manfred Pernice at Regen Projects

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There is something oddly touching about the scrappy assortment of objects that make up German artist Manfred Pernice’s third solo show with Regen Projects. Rough-hewn pedestals with traces of tile and faux brick finish; small, vaguely architectural ceramic slab sculptures; a chunk of cement with a pole stuck into it; a cheap metal candle-holder; precarious plywood towers resembling stacks of cardboard boxes — the works have an ad hoc, low-budget quality much at odds with the refinement of the gallery’s white cube setting.

Their charm lies in the fact that they don’t feel lazy or especially sloppy, but rather carefully arranged and cared for, as though produced by someone who’s doing his best with minimal resources and limited prospects. They have an air of subtle dignity, like shelters constructed from scraps beneath a bridge or the makeshift toys of an impoverished child.

One senses a conceptual rationale at play — some turn on the general German obsession with architecture and urban decay — but the specifics are fairly obscure. What resonates are the material details: a moving blanket spread out neatly beneath a top-heavy column of boxes; the battered discount-store quality of the candle-holder. Though banal, these details have a mysterious poignancy, calling attention, it seems, to the futility and the necessity of object making.

-- Holly Myers

Regen Projects, 633 N. Almont Drive, L.A., (310) 276-5424, through May 16. Closed Sundays and Mondays.


Above: ‘Como 3,’ wood, paint, cardboard and found images under glass. Credit: Regen Projects