Headline November12,2012


Isa Genzken could easily be seen as a strange, marginal, eccentric German Sculptor whose body of work, while containing moments of purity and something close to mysterious beauty, has been too restless, uncertain and uneven for her to merit huge attention.

If she had gone on taking photographs of women's ears, which she did 1980, we would know what to do with her.She would be the woman who does ears. We could love her, or grow tired of her, or someone could pay a record price for her ''Ear''.

If she had gone on to making enormously long, skinny, shapes in wood and fibreglass, which she did in the Seventies and Eighties, having their shape worked out for her on a computer in a factory that made armaments, and then running them across the gallery floor like bits of tubing cut open, or enlongated boats, then we would also have her figured out. She would be a strange German minimalist whose work we could do without.

In the 90s she took those wonderful photos of skyscrapers in New York, filled with texture and suggestion and with deep love for brave angles and large scale in architecture. And 1989 she had gone on taking photographs of the X-Rays of her own skull, or made more roses in stainless steel, aluminium or lacquer, to be placed in front of public buildings, as she did in the 90s.

She made her great totem poles, using wood, paper, tape, lacquer, glass, foil, aluminium, filled with colour, textures, images and symbols.

She then created pieces of sculpture made of windows, and her marvellous ''Pile of Rubbish'' using plaster, paper and metal. All this casts on light on the origins of her inspiration; instead they made clear how intelligent she is, and subtle and uncompromising. She was born in 1948, studied in Hamburg, Berlin and Dusseldorf.

She was fascinated by beauty as she was by destruction. By purity of line as by vast clutter, by austerity as by plenty of noise and fuss. Some of her models for new buildings in Berlin from recent years are stunning pieces of work filled with strange idealism and purity.

In any case, all her new work, like 'Genzken's entire oeuvre' seem destined to start many arguments and settle none.

Anyone who does not go to her retrospective is mad!

Good Night & God Bless!


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