May 26 - May 29, 2016

Sonja Gerdes

Pie of Trouble. Let’s Hang. You look at it but it doesn’t exist. Air for Free.



The Pit is pleased to announce a performance by Berlin based artist Sonja Gerdes.  The performance will occur over the course of four days at the gallery.  The first performance will coincide with the public reception on Thursday, May 26 at 8pm. After the performance the artist will install a sculpture in the gallery, which will be open to the public for viewing throughout the weekend.  The following days the artist will inhabit the gallery with daylong performances during normal gallery hours. 

Performances by the Artist in Two Acts:

Activation through human: Thursday, May 26, 2016, 8pm

Activation through sculptural object, Friday, May 27 – Sunday, May 29, 2016, 12 – 5pm

The Pit

918 Ruberta Ave.

Glendale CA 91201


What the public wants is the image of passion, not passion itself.

– Roland Barthes from Le monde où l'on catche, “Mythologies,” (1957)


In 1971 filmmaker Harely Cokliss's short film “Towards Crash!” was broadcast on the BBC television channel featuring two short stories by new wave science fiction author J.G. Ballard. The film visualized Ballard’s “The Atrocity Exhibition” (published 1970) and “Crash” (published 1973). In the film, Ballard narrates and performs his fictional character, named Ballard, alongside actress Gabrielle Drake. The two actors navigate a technological landscape connecting the visual and psychological structure of the motor vehicle with the physical and sexualized human body.

These descriptions seemed to be a language in search of objects, or even, perhaps, the beginnings of a new sexuality divorced from any possible physical expression.


I'm interested in the automobile as a narrative structure as a scenario that describes our real lives and our real fantasies. If every member of the human race would have vanished over night, I think it would be possible to reconstitute almost every element of human psychology from the design of a vehicle like this.

                                      – excerpt from J.G. Ballard and the Motorcar, (1971)

In Los Angeles, human bodies spend an exorbitant number of hours moving across a seemingly endless expanse of urban terrain inside of metal machines called automobiles. There is an owner’s manual in the glove compartment for reference in case the vehicle malfunctions, though with enough experience, the manual may no longer be necessary.

Imagine a transformation of the common vehicle into an amorphous, living organism that surrounds, perceives, and communicates with the body that it contains. Rather, in its new form, the amorphous organism is pliable – similar in texture to the clay used in the modeling stage of automobile design – but its aerodynamic structure is not fixed or permanent, its pliability simultaneously responds to wind pressure and to human consciousness. In this new form, the amorphous vehicle and the human become a singular unit working in unison.  

As the organism and the body begin to simultaneously reflect each other, they ultimately interact and begin to accommodate each other. They become highly sensitive of the other and gently adapt, regulate, and relax into their individual yet combined motions. They become one; the amorphous sentient organism surrounding the sentient body move through time and space based on intuition. Their unspoken interconnection alludes to the erotic, to the sensual, and to the intellectual and sexual nature of a bond – or dependence – made to navigate a technological world. 

– Gladys-Katherina Hernando, May 2016

Sonja Gerdes was born in Germany and has shown internationally including at Los Angeles Contemporary Archive, The Pit, Los Angeles; Maraya Art Park, Sharjah/Dubai; Blackbridge Offspace, Beijing; Scriptings, Berlin; Gallery Syster in Lulea, Sweden; Kavi Gupta, Berlin; Elephant, Los Angeles; and Galerie Gebr.Lehmann, Berlin, among others. She currently lives and works in Berlin and Los Angeles.