– Spring/Summer 2005

The Picket Fence

Eva Meyer-Herrman

The Picket Fence

One time there was a picket fence
with space to gaze from hence to thence.
An architect who saw this sight
approached it suddenly one night,
removed the spaces from the fence,
and built of them a residence.
The picket fence stood there dumbfounded
with pickets wholly unsurrounded,
a view so loathsome and obscene,
the Senate had to intervene.
The architect, however, flew
to Afri- or Americoo.

- Christian Morgenstern

I saw my first work by Manfred Pernice at an art fair. Initially I didn't see it at all. During the preview, I found myself walking past a booth and afterwards all I could remember was some kind of unfinished situation that struck me, yet without inviting any serious attention. So I went back again. After all, it is not unusual to find hammering, hanging and cleaning still going on during the opening hours of an art fair. However upon returning, the booth still seemed deserted. It was quiet with nothing moving and inside an unwieldy monstrosity made out of different bits of wood obstructed the space. It had a strangely unidentifiable spatial structure that I couldn't quite resolve. There were a couple of gaps in places, perhaps permitting access to an interior but they were too low and the openings too narrow for comfort. Perhaps the structure covered something else? Perhaps it was simply unfinished? But if so, what was it in the process of becoming - furniture, architecture, something temporary? A few sketchy, miniature models stood on small shelves around the walls. Was the thing itself one gigantic, primal model in that case? Possibly,