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– Spring/Summer 2000

Isa Genzken

Christiane Schneider

Isa Genzken, Baby Aluminium, steel, 100 x 60 x 27 cm, 1997/98. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne/Berlin.

Isa Genzken, Baby Aluminium, steel, 100 x 60 x 27 cm, 1997/98. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne/Berlin.

My favourite piece of sculpture is a solid wall with a hole in it to frame the space on the other side.
- Andy Warhol

1.
Many authors who have written on Isa Genzken emphasise the disparate nature of her work, and indeed, an unusual variety and diversity in both medium and formal vocabulary is characteristic of her extensive practice. I would like to start by outlining its structure: Genzken's focus is on sculpture, developed through different series of work that vary so much from each other that it may not even be immediately apparent that they are made by the same artist. From 1976-85 she developed colourful sculptures made out of wood mainly ellipsoids and hyperboloids,1 and followed them with a group of sculptures made from plaster. A large group between 1986-92 consists of works in concrete, a material she initially used to create model-like spaces and architectural structures on steel constructions until she moved on to an intense exploration of windows and paravents, something she continues using epoxy resin. In the early 1990s, Genzken worked with the same material - though clearly removed from the severity of her earlier constructions - to produce colourful rotating columns and hoods, as well as lamps. With the Babies, assemblages made mostly from kitchen utensils and hung on the wall, she moves in a different direction again, leading to the Saulen (Columns) that she has been working on over the past two years. Besides this, and her public work, she has produced films and videos, drawings, photographs, works in oil on canvas, collages, collage books, film scripts and a record.

In these circumstances, the desire

Footnotes
  1. Those works are all made out of glued Abachi wood which is used for model making as it is light and cheap. An exception is the hyperboloid MBB, made in 1981 from epoxy resin.

  2. Isabelle Graw, Schmuckstücke. Isa Genzken bei Daniel Buchholz in Köln, Texte zur Kunst, September 1994

  3. Edith Krcbs, Isa Genzken, Nnema, Salzburg, April/May 1989

  4. Dieter Schwarz , 'Weltempfänger', in Isa Genzken, Bonn: Rheinisches Landesmuseum; Kunstmuseum Winterthur; Rotterdam: Museum Boijmans van Beuningen; and Munich: Verlag Silke Schreiber, 1989

  5. A red-black-yellow ellipsoid made in 1981 is titled after S.L. Popova.