Nelson Pernisco, 2024

Nelson Pernisco
Born in 1993, lives and works in Paris.

Text by Florian Gaité

Nelson Pernisco’s work has to be explored the way we would approach the third-places he makes his own; seen as a space of free indiscipline where critical thinking breads new utopias. From urban squats to industrial wastelands, the visual artist took it upon itself to discover the various means of occupying territories, of constructing housings and the way they act as a catalyst for political orders. His aesthetic is dry and in some way, brutalist. He relies on recycling poor and recovered materials, presented as touchstones of a world that may already be in ruins, and is at best under never-ending construction. Borrowed from the urban environment, from industrial properties or from the realm of technology, these figments are used in his work to reflect the precariousness of time and the urgency of rethinking forms.

His sculptures and installations reveal the general instability lying at the heart of Nelson Pernisco’s work. The eight props laid horizontally in La quadrature (The Quadrature) are enough to emphasise that post-industrial societies have tipped over into the irrational,that the logical systems and power relationships have been reversed in a manner which disturbs their balance. As a response, he builds precarious structures, sometimes close to shacks - concrete skateboard ramps, a vaginal lair, a techno sauna or an impenetrable bunker casing – all failing to provide any sense of comfort and protection. While the feeling of vulnerability prevails here, it is however compensated for, by the promotion of alternative lifestyles, which relies on the carelessness of games and community life in order to rethink social relationships. In that way, the reference to recreational drugs and monstrous dildos invoke biopolitical mutations which are both the nefarious consequences of world mutations and the salvatory promise of a revival.

Nelson Pernisco opposes resistance as a concrete means of action to today’s background filled with feelings of insecurity. Carrying around a metal furniture from the North to the South of Paris or testing his own body’s stretch with an elastic integrates the performance into his production process, while the choice of tenacious materials re-iterates the intention. After a second interpretation, it becomes clear that this physical opposition makes us think of a political dissent. Nelson Pernisco bears witness to the shift from a “society of imprisonment” to one of “control”, from State discipline to generalised surveillance. He seeks to symbolically topple the coercion process through which neoliberal societies and emergency state governance silence individual citizens. By turning the surveillance mechanism against the police forces or by associating the French flag with an anti-riot shield, the artist seizes the tools of power to re-weaponize the emancipatory aim of art.

His taste for burned materials, and for the compression of objects and chaotic compositions informs the choice of a destructive plasticity, proceeding by erasing or destroying the initial forms - a just answer to the violence of the current environment. From traces of powder to Molotov cocktails, from burned industrial waste to empty forms, Nelson Pernisco uses the formal language of bombing and applies it to volumes and spaces, while adding a toucheof humour to defuse this anguish-fuelled vision. This ironic distance stands in contrast to the nihilistic poetry of the titles – the expression of melancholy in the face of a crumbling world and its required entropy. In that sense, the deconstructed hourglass in Le commencement et la fin (The Beginning and the End), the grave dug in the snow in La poussière de l’heure et la cendre du jour (The Dust of the Hour and The Ashes Of the Day) or the toxic ventilantion in Temps, mort (Time, death) represent the vanities of a post-human world still in its infant state, the tale that human beings will be overcome by technical prowess, clearly threatening its future.

Solo shows

2022 Monts intérieurs d’un monde analogue, Villa Arson Art Center, Nice (FR)
2020 Ipazia o la Fucina celeste, Artissima, Turin (IT)
2021 Fondere l’universo per saldare il mondo, White Noise Gallery, Rome (IT)
2021 Avalanche, co-curated w/ Andy Rankin, Pal Projet Gallery, Paris (FR)
2020 Oui la nuit rêve dans le minérale, Centre d’art Bastille, Grenoble (FR)
2019 L’éternité n’est guère plus longue que la vie, White Noise Gallery, Rome (IT)
2019 Il n’y a que la canaille pour mettre son nom sur les murailles, Art Center of the Belfort school (FR)
2019 Si par parking vous comprenez jardin, Bertrand Grimont Gallery, Paris (FR)
2018 Dans la langue des ciments, La Conciergerie, Chambéry (FR)
2018 Only through man man survive, Winzavod, Contemporary Art Center of the city of Moscow (RU)
2018 Du temps dont je suis fait, Wonder/Liebert, Bagnolet (FR)
2017 De la surveillance aux surveillés, Les Barreaux, Paris (FR)
2016 To see, not to see. To hear, not to hear. Exhume, inhume. BnA Gallery, Tokyo (JP)
2016 All Cops Are Beautiful, 71b, Paris (FR)
2015 Les nuits Paris, City Order, Place de la République, Paris (FR)
2013 Nepos, Point G non profit space, Paris (FR)

Group shows

2021 Skeuma Lekba, l’Onde centre d’art et théatre, Vélizy-Villacoublay (FR)
2021 Nous iront tous au paradis, Frac Normandie, Caen (FR)
2021 IRL é RL, w/ Le Wonder, Mac Lyon (FR)
2020 ART PARIS, w/Bertrand Grimont Gallery. Paris (FR)
2020 La vie des tables, Le CREDAC, Ivry (FR)
2020 Afterparty, La Fondation du Doute, Blois (FR)
2020 Arco Art Fair , w/ Baro Gallery, Madrid (ES)
2020 Mia Art Fair , w/ White Noise Gallery, Milan (IT)
2019 Pretenso, Cerquone Gallery, Madrid (FR)
2019 Living Cube, Orléans (FR)
2019 100% expo, Grande Hall de la Villette, Paris (FR)
2019 Papapapapaaa papa paam, Bertrand Grimont Gallery, Paris (FR)
2018 01.12.18, Wonder/Libert, Bagnolet (FR)
2018 Téquaté LO Niktété, Mécènes du sud Montpellier-Sètes (FR)
2018 Quit ut Deus, Artorama, Marseille (FR)
2018 B l ob!, Bertrand Grimont Gallery, Paris (FR)
2018 Par amour du jeu, Magasins Généraux, Pantin (FR)
2018 Hors Cadre, Bastille Design Center, Paris (FR)
2018 Frè Gou, Wonder/Liebert, Bagnolet (FR)
2017 Kiuaskivi (sauna chaud, techno froide), Hotel Pasteur, Rennes (FR)
2017 Lo Gars D’icy, Wonder/Liebert, Bagnolet
2017 L’idiot 6B, Saint-Denis, France (FR)
2017 Genius Loci, Wonder/Liebert, Bagnolet (FR)
2017 La Convocation, l’Ourcq Blanc, Paris (FR)
2017 No Way / High Way, Maelle Gallery, Paris
2017 Réalité, Christophe Gaillard Gallery, Paris (FR)
2017 Kiuaskivi, Glassbox Gallery, Paris(FR)
2017 Dirty Pepax, Les Lundis du Pavillon du Palais de Tokyo, Wonder/Liebert, Bagnolet (FR)
2017 Merci la nuit, T2 Gallery, Paris (FR)
2017 L’urbain, Épisodique Gallery, Paris (FR)
2017 Le quatrième sexe, Le Cœur Gallery, Paris (FR)
2016 It’s a Dream, Arondit Centre d’art contemporain, Paris (FR)
2016 Run Run Run, Centre d’Art de la Villa Arson, Nice
2016 Pavillon de l’Exil, YIA Art Fair, Archives National, Paris
2016 Generosity, XPO Gallery, Paris (FR)
2016 Panspermie, w/Lazer Quest, Wonder, Saint-Ouen(FR)
2016 Temenos, Les Écuries, Paris (FR)
2016 Du sang, du labeur, des larmes et de la sueur, Wonder, Paris (FR)
2016 Les intrus #2, Trouble dans l’habitat, La Maison Des Arts, Malakoff (FR)
2016 287 Chemin de la madrague-ville, Marseille (FR)
2016 À l’envers, Dérive Space, Paris (FR)
2016 Artagon II, Passage de Retz, Paris (FR)
2016 Le soleil, le temps et le feu, Champ Libre à Pantin (FR)
2015 Ponctuations, L’Amour, Bagnolet (FR)
2015 Installation, La Manutention, Paris (FR)
2015 Industries, L’Amour, Bagnolet (FR)
2013 Nomade Utopia, Carrousel du Louvre, Paris (FR)
2013 Dynamo /La nuit des musées, Grand Palais, Paris (FR)


2019 SODAVI – Orientation Scheme for the Development of the Visual Arts – Ministère de la Culture / DRAC IDF. Membre du comité de pilotage
2017 Le Wonder. Creation and presidency of the association in charge of the Wonder/Liebert in Bagnolet (FR), the Wonder/Zénith in Nanterre (FR), and the Wonder/Fortin in Clichy (FR)
2014 C.A.A.O.U. Active member of the association. In charge of L’Amour in Bagnolet (FR) (closed in 2016)
2013 TREL. Creation and presidency of the association in charge of Wonder in St Ouen (FR) (closed in 2016)
2012 PointG. Member of the association in charge of Point G in Paris (FR) (closed in 2014)

Prizes, founds, residencies

2021 Marval Collection. Best booth new entries / best young artist discovery. Artissima (IT)
2021 FMAC. Laureate aquisition 2020. City of Paris (FR)
2018 Prix des amis du Palais de Tokyo. Wonder/Liebert. Finalist. Paris (FR)
2018 Winzavod Art Center. Production residency at the contemporary art center of Moscow (RU)
2017 Concours la Convocation. Laureate. Paris (FR)
2016 Centre d’Art de la Villa Arson. Production residency. Nice (FR)
2015 Artagon. Competition. Finalist. Paris (FR)


2023 Non Fiction 04. 300p. 500 ex (FR)
2022 Effondrement des Alpes. Mac Lyon. Exhibition catalog. 208p. 1000 ex (FR)
2021 Ville de Paris, Fond d’art contemporain Paris collection. 98p. 500 ex (FR)
2021 La Republica. 29p. 300.000 ex (IT)
2021 Hyperempirique, Les press du Réel. 80p. 150 ex (FR)
2021 Avalanche. Exhibition catalog. 109p, 300 ex (FR)
2020 Libération 22.04.20. 28p. 91.000 ex (FR)
2019 The Art Newspaper 04. 68p. 5.000 ex (FR)
2019 Un été au Wonder/Liebert, 125p, 200 ex (FR)
2019 Art Vilnus 19. Exhibition catalog. 98p. 240p. 1500 ex (LT)
2019 Track n°219. 100p. 23.400 ex (FR)
2019 Libération 13.12.19. 28p. 91.000 ex (FR)
2018 Beaux Art Magazine n°406. 172p. 50.000 ex (FR)
2018 Télérama Sortir n°3561. 64p. 464.032 ex (FR)
2018 Par amour du jeu. Exhibition catalog. 134p. 5000 ex (FR)
2018 Téquaté Lo Niketété. Exhibition catalog. 140p. 1000 ex (FR)
2018 InsideArt Magazine n°178. 97p. 50.000 ex (IT)
2018 Le Dauphiné Libéré. 32p. 100.000 ex (FR)
2017 Numéro Art n°1. 256p. 75.000 ex (FR)
2017 Tafmag vol 2: Bublle gum. 128p. 400 ex (FR)
2017 L’art & ses objets. 124p. 500 ex (FR)
2017 Art Press n°448. 100p. 30.000 ex (FR)
2016 Le Monde n°22421. 27p. 260.000 ex (FR)
2016 Les Inrocks n°1064. 154p. 20.400 ex (FR)
2016 AMA n°259. 75p. 3.000ex (FR)
2016 Artaïs n°014. 20p 3.500 ex (FR)
2016 Flofferz mag. 244p. 200 ex. (US)
2016 Les Inrocks n°1092. 154p. 20.400 ex (FR)
2016 Point Contemporain n°1. 28p. 500 ex (FR)
2015 Wonder Catalogue. 16p. 400 ex (FR)
2015 Industries. Exhibition catalog. 85p. 200ex (FR)
2015 Libération 12.08.15. 28p. 91.000 ex (FR)