Isa Genzken, considered to be one of the leading contemporary artists, works with sculpture in a multidimensional way. Her oeuvre comprises sculpture, photography, film, video, works on paper and canvas, collages and books. Genzken's understanding of sculpture includes not only architecture but also advertisement, design, everyday objects and media. Implicitly, the focus is on the social field governing these categories. Genzken who addresses in her recent works the "terror that emerges from both the universal equivalence and exchangeability of all objects and materials " (Benjamin Buchloh) succeeds in transforming our conventional relations to our environment by creating sculpturally dense, symbolic spaces that transcend reality.
Technically, Genzken works in a highly precise way, using different materials such as wood, concrete, and epoxyd resin for objects that resemble architectural fragments or models. Her well-known "Weltempfänger" (world receivers) are, for example, concrete casts of transistor radios equipped with real antennas. Further materials are plaster cast, mirrors, found objects, textiles and synthetics as well as journals and newspapers for her photographic series, collages and books. Her analytic approach to the object world also involves shifts in scale and montage, fragmentation, an aesthetic of ruptures which serves to make the familiar visible and readable in a completely new way.
The exhibition put together by Isa Genzken for the Galerie im Taxispalais offers a concise cross-section of her artistic work, ranging from works from the late 1980s and early 1990s to pieces she has created very recently.
"The American Room" (2004), mounted in the glass-covered hall of the Galerie, consists of an enormous corporate desk made of steel and glass as well as six ensembles placed at eye level on plinths presenting fragments from everyday culture such as knick-knacks and figurines, eagles made of plaster or various types of receptacles, which create an uncanny space with an atmosphere of threatening force.
Isa Genzken does not interpret, she is more interested in allowing the viewers to read "their own fantasies and stories" from her sculptures.
In this exhibition Genzken will be showing her two "Spiegel" series for the first time together – "Der Spiegel 1989 – 1991" and "Der Spiegel II" (2002). The series, one in black and white and the other in color, each consists of about 120 photographs which the artist cut out of the magazine "Der Spiegel". Detached from their context and without any caption the photo-series offer a shocking, even grotesque image of the reality of media reporting.
The compelling video "Meine Großeltern im Bayerischen Wald" (My Grandparents in the Bavarian Woods), 1992, depicting the simple everyday life of an elderly couple is shown in a separate space. The exhibition also includes one of Genzken's sculptural floor lamps as well as some pieces that the artist has just created such as her "skyscraper architectures" made of glass, plastic and adhesive tape.
Since 2002, Isa Genzken has had a real presence in the urban space of Innsbruck with the large scale close-up of an ear on the facade of the newly designed city hall of Innsbruck.
Isa Genzken was born in Bad Oldesloe in 1948. She lives and works in Berlin.
The catalogue in occasion of the exhibition will appear early August 2006 in cooperation with the Secession, Vienna. Text by Benjamin Buchloh, approx. 80 pages, color, Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne.
Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne
Hauser & Wirth Zurich London