At a time when nature was regarded as a complement to the life of the community, the role of the artist was to select images from history and the imagination which elicited various desired reactions from the spectator – one of which was sublime terror (or at least delightful shivers). The question was: “What is the Law of Mind according to which in actual life the exercise of the imagination is excited, and what are the means by which in the different Fine Arts the artist is able to awaken this important exercise of the imagination and to exalt objects of simple and common pleasure into objects of Beauty or Sublimity?” (Archibald Alison, Essays on Nature and Principiles of Taste, 1790).
Nelson Pernisco uses fire as an agent for change and throws Molotov cocktails onto empty demonstration posters, where their impact and explosion leave traces of delicate beauty. The flag thus becomes the germ of the sublime that offers eschatological dimensions. In this sense, Pernisco's flag design can be read as a personal commentary on mutual misunderstanding amidst ubiquitous violence in the global status quo. At least that is what is implied by its title.
Generally, his aesthetic is dry and in some ways brutalist. In most of his works he relies on recycling cast-off and discarded 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, industrial properties or the realm of technology, these figments are used in his work to reflect the precariousness of time and the urgency of rethinking forms.
His taste for burned materials, and for the compression of objects and chaotic compositions is basically a form of negative plasticity in which the original forms are erased or destroyed.From traces of powder to Molotov cocktails, burned industrial waste to empty forms, Nelson Pernisco uses the formal language of bombing and applies it to volumes and spaces, while adding a touch of humour to defuse an otherwise anguish fuelled vision. This ironic distance stands in contrast to the poetry of the titles – the expression of melancholy in the face of a crumbling world.