Berlin-based artist Manfred Pernice has been making objects that look like models for containers, furniture, or buildings since the mid-1980s. His humble materials, such as particleboard, plywood, and cardboard, belie the deft engineering and meticulous details of his constructions. At first, his sculptures appear to be functional designs. However, they slowly reveal themselves as wholly ambiguous and only vaguely utilitarian. The artist prompts us to question whether we are looking at a model or the final project, a pedestal or a sculpture.
Plateau (Mrs. Juice) was first exhibited in 2004 with a number of similarly scaled structures the artist refers to as “merzbanks.” “Merz” is the name Dadaist artist Kurt Schwitters gave to his early 20th-century collage works composed of urban detritus and everyday found materials. In German, bank can mean both “bench” or “bank,” setting up a verbal play mirrored in the structure of the piece itself.