Curated by Eleonora Aloise and Carlo Maria
November 20th 2019 – January 11th 2020
Nelson Pernisco’s personal and artistic life is strongly connected to the urban context and the study on its inherent dynamics. In 2013 he was among the founders of the Le Wonder, collective, artist-run space, exhibition hall and nomadic cultural production site moving around abandoned buildings of the French capital. The need to reconstruct from scratch an empty building, into a space of cultural research and production, was the main element suggesting Pernisco a reflection on the modern idea of architecture and urban space.
According to the architect Oscar Niemeyer, “Architecture may have a political function, just because it deals with man and its way of living.” The idea of architecture that identifies Le Wonder locations is analogical, generated by necessities, dense of connections, spirits and energy. An almost anachronistic oasis in an urban panorama which gets immediately old, where the tsunami of progress calls for an immediate swap between old and new; a new that is utilitarian, functional, distant and chrome-plated. This modern, absolute and depersonalized architectural paradigm generates copycatted habitats crossing cultures and geography.
These are able to reassure the modern population despite completely losing any dialogue with the single human being. Aseptic waiting lounges, continuously repeating themselves like Chinese boxes in modern cities in which citizens are treated like background instead of active actors.
Each sculpture created by Nelson Pernisco is the result of the “resistance” he opposes to the dehumanization of contemporary habitat. His guerrilla fighters are coming from the vast army of the street furniture that we are totally addicted to, invisible object that populates our lives. Aluminium structures recalling barriers and fences, so obvious to the eye to be deprived of any significance or function.
These soulless objects are background actors in a deeply standardized environment that is no more centered on the individual. Pernisco creates his personal catalogue of pieces of equipment transformed into modern totems through the use of archaic masks and aluminium gargoyles. Mystical objects that bring back modern man to his existentialist roots through the juxtaposition of ancient iconography and modern utilitarianism.
The artistic research of Nelson Pernisco is not focused on the pure creation of a fetish but embraces the entire process that switches from a mechanical to a conceptual and performing act. Devoted to his vision, the entire construction process of every piece is entirely realized by the artist. Using one of the urban objects he found in the city, Nelson was able to create a furnace in
the new location of the Wonder in order to melt and mold the aluminum masks. The result is a production characterized by an industrial aesthetic and an artisanal nature that is able to speak to this century using an ancient language. The same language that echoes in the installation conceived for the basement where the crackle made by melted aluminium fills the space with the primal sound of an urban undergrowth’s awakening.