Manfred Pernice & Megan Plunkett

in collaboration with Emalin for Condo London

20.01.2024 – 02.03.2024

1 Holywell Lane
London EC2A 3ET

Galerie Neu is pleased to present >anticorpo<, a duo exhibition of works by Manfred Pernice and Megan Plunkett, taking place at Emalin, London.

The exhibition comprises a set of new sculptures by Manfred Pernice and photographs by Megan Plunkett. This is the first time the artists’ practices are shown alongside each other, having emerged in the different generations and continents of 1990s post-unification Berlin and 2010s capitalist-noir Los Angeles. Yet, despite these contrasting contexts and mediums, their practices share a concern and a methodology: to turn the mundane insideout and make it unfamiliar, alienating and suspect, reflective of our own highly constructed — “built” and assembled — as much as tentative and warped perception of the everyday.

Manfred Pernice’s influential sculptural practice deploys the distinct material, architectural and philosophical affects of the rapidly altered environment and psychogeography of Central Europe at the dawn of the millennium. His varying geometric structures literally unfold and extend as modulating sequences, clusters, fields and sets of sculptural units and rooms, at times cumulating into rather charged scenarios of an (sub-)urban-precarious uncanny. The roughness of materials and their seemingly provisional construction quote from the utilitarian forms and sensibilities of public yet equally shielded and impenetrable spaces, running the gamut from potentially perennially unleased office space, inscrutable industrial shipping containers or forlorn waiting rooms.

Throughout his practice spanning over 30 years and in his first exhibition in London in the last decade, Pernice has devised recurring and by now signature sculptural motifs in tandem with his quasi-coded concepts of “Verdosung” (“cannification”), “Peilung” (“bearing”), and “Brei” (“pulp”). The motif of the can — a column-like container that Pernice refers to as Dosen in German — can be understood as an abstraction of advertising columns that inform as much litter the built environment or cultural landscape/wastelands. With the anticorpi, Pernice puts these ‘bodies’ into position and for the first time tilts the column-like sculptures, essentially retrofitting his trademark designs for the times — outward yet askew. This ambiguity is further implied by the four sculptures resembling defense-architecture, their protective shapes suggestive of operational interiors that double as plinths.

Similar to his characteristically deadpan and gruff exhibition titles such as “Restepfanne“ (left-over pan), „exscape”, “liquidation 2.2”, or “neue Arbeiten” (new works), in >anticorpo< Pernice implies a dual situation concerning physical resistance as well as sculptural vocabulary. In this setting, with the artworks facing “an outside”, the viewer is exposed to a field of tension permeated by domesticity, health and the crisis of meaning in sculptural art as well as underlying questions about current constitutions of political presence and action.

The image-based practice of Megan Plunkett is an investigation into the material conditions and visual economies of reality in photography. Plunkett's interest lies in the ways that people form beliefs based on images and what kind of visual authorities we listen to. She uses movement, seriality and other types of disambiguation to cultivate a sense of estrangement and the uncanny within familiar and mundane images, often harvested online or staged using techniques and conventions drawn from commercial product photography, forensic crime scene documentation, or Hollywood set tricks.

Signs and Wonders is an ongoing body of work that makes use of the recurring symbol of the Coca-Cola can in differently branded iterations that Plunkett sources, collects and serialises in sets of images. The items include Hollywood props, off-brand bodega drinks, dog toys, candles and, finally, the objects that claim authenticity. The artist alters them to reveal the inherent strangeness of their nature as hyperobjects of mundanity – something so proliferated that it becomes impossible to comprehend it individually. The same logic underlies her work with objects in the form of a sun with a human face. Sourced online or in dollar stores, the cosmic bodies in ceramic or paper pulp face us with how uncanny our mirror-like recognition of ourselves in photography is. These inexplicably commonplace though surreal domestic knick-knacks, in her own words, are the closest her practice gets to portraiture.

Both artists in the exhibition play with highly manipulative, deceptive banality. Yet, the attention to objects is not dismissive – it plays neither with deconstructivist nor utopian discourse. Despite their abstraction and refusal of content, both bodies of work are still grounded in an appreciation for the found object – not just a critique of perception but also curiosity for the perceived.


Manfred Pernice (b. 1963 in Hildesheim, DE) lives and works in Berlin, DE.

He studied at Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Braunschweig and at Hochschule der Künste in Berlin. Since 2012, he is a professor at the University of Arts Berlin. Pernice’s solo exhibitions have been held at Galerie Neu, Berlin, DE (2021); Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, St.Gallen, CH (2016); Institut D’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne, FR (2013); Haus der Kunst,Munich, DE (2013); Secession, Vienna, AT (2010); Museum Ludwig, Cologne, DE (2007); Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, DE (2003); Portikus, Frankfurt/Main, DE (2000); and Kunsthalle Zurich, CH (2000). His group exhibitions include Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin,DE (2022); Berghain, Berlin, DE (2020); Palais de Tokyo, Paris, FR (2019); Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, NO (2015); Hayward Gallery, London, UK (2010); Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA, US (2008); Skulptur pojekte Münster 07, Münster, DE (2007); 50th Venice Biennale, Venice, IT (2003); documenta 11, Kassel, DE (2002); 49th Venice Biennale, Venice, IT (2001); MOCA, Los Angeles, CA, US (2001); Manifesta, 3rd International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, SI (2000); 4th Biennale de Lyon, Lyon, FR (1997).

Megan Plunkett (b. 1985 in Pasadena, CA, US) lives and works in Los Angeles, US.

She graduated with a MFA from the Bard MFA Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts in 2017. Solo exhibitions have been held at F Gallery, Houston, TX, US (2023); Sweetwater, Berlin, DE (2022); Emalin, London, UK (2021); F Gallery, Houston, US (2020); The Gallery at El Centro, Los Angeles, US (2019); Emalin, London, UK (2019); Commercial Street atThe Capri, Los Angeles, US (2018); Shoot the Lobster, New York, US (2018); and Emalin, London, UK (2017). Plunkett’s work has been included in group exhibitions at STARS, Los Angeles, US (2023); Shivers Only, Paris, FR (2023); King's Leap @ Room3557, Los Angeles, US (2023); Park View / Paul Soto, Los Angeles, US (2022); The Wig, Berlin, DE(2022); Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn, DE (2022); MOSTYN, Llandudno, UK (2022); Magenta Plains, New York, US (2021); DREI, Mönchengladbach, DE (2021); Sweetwater, Berlin, DE (2020); Art at Michael’s, Los Angeles, US (2020); Normandy Hôtel, Paris, FR (2019); and Reena Spaulings Los Angeles, US (2019).

Emalin Vitrine: A selection of cards & folding-cards by the Scottish artist, poet and gardener Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006) from a private archive. Curated by Charles Asprey.
Installation view, Manfred Pernice & Megan Plunkett, >anticorpo<, 2024
Installation view, Manfred Pernice & Megan Plunkett, >anticorpo<, 2024
Installation view, Manfred Pernice & Megan Plunkett, >anticorpo<, 2024
Emalin Vitrine:
A selection of cards & folding-cards by the Scottish artist, poet and gardener Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006) from a private archive. Curated by Charles Asprey.