05 April – 21 June 2009
This is the first retrospective of a major European artist whose fusion of photography, paint, architecture and found objects into the realm of sculpture has influenced generations of younger artists.
The show commences with early floor works from the 1970s and continues with a sequence of windows, rooms and buildings cast from plaster and concrete in the 1980s. Living and working in Germany and in New York, Genzken’s column structures of the 1990s draw on the vertiginous, reflective forms of Manhattan skyscrapers, adapted in 2000 into proposals for improvements to the architecture of Berlin.
In her remarkable pavilion at the 2007 Venice Biennale, German sculptor Isa Genzken immersed visitors in a series of environments on the theme of ‘Oil’. Like a three dimensional collage the pavilion presented a poetic culmination of the major themes in her work: the psychedelic qualities of industrial materials, architectural form, the loss of the natural world, the properties of colour, and the energy and violence of western culture.
The exhibition features elements Oil, 2007 and other recent installations such as Ground Zero, 2008. They are created with toys, souvenirs, furniture, building materials — the stuff of consumer culture, arranged in associative scenarios that are in turn funny, poetic and disturbing.
Isa Genzken: Open, Sesame! is organised in collaboration with the Museum Ludwig, Cologne. Supported by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes, the Henry Moore Foundation, the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, the Goethe Institute, London and Hauser & Wirth, Zürich London. With thanks to Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne, and David Zwirner, New York.