PAE: $154,800-$232,200
Isa Genzken, Fenster
Isa Genzken, Fenster, concrete and steel, 225 by 80 by 48cm.; 88 5/8 by 31 1/2 by 18 7/8 in. Executed in 1990. © Images are copyright of their respective owners, assignees or others.

Isa Genzken (b. 1948) is a German sculptor, photographer, painter, and installation artist who lives and works in Berlin. Her work focuses on the ruin that architecture and consumerist goods are fated to become and the society that exists amid these ruins. Genzken’s exploration into sculpture as ruin came directly after the successful reception of her Minimalist forms of "Ellipsoids", 1976-82 and "Hyperbolos", 1979-1983. Once these works, executed with computer-aided engineering and precise craftsmanship “had reached the size and scale of public-space”, Genzken abandoned this trajectory of perfection altogether. “Probing the credibility of her commitment to such utopian aspirations under the conditions of postwar Germany, Genzken now reverted to the melancholy of ruined interiors and fractured bunker shards.” (Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Artforum, 2005). From 1986-1992, Genzken created a series of concrete and plaster sculptures that resemble ruined walls, rough openings, windows, and interiors, reminiscent of bombed out buildings in Berlin or Hamburg from World War II. Heavy materials, sitting atop delicate/minimal steel supports, often deteriorating slightly during shipping or installation, these works confront the viewer directly and present their sense of postwar fragility of monumental collapse at a scale that is small enough to be grasped. This series of sculptures marks the beginning of Genzken’s fascination with the interplay between human scale and architectural form, her attraction to works that embody failure or waste, and her reflections on urban life, ultimately leading to the development of her interest in the excesses of consumerism, and the ways in which humans are collaged into this architectural edifice of object fetish. Genzken broke into her assemblage style in 1997, with a group of hanging objects made of household appliances (tools and kitchenware), embellished with colorful sprays of paint, titled “Schwules Baby (Gay Baby)”. The title of this collective suggests that the sculptures themselves are fated upon creation to be atypical and contain by default issues of sexuality and gender. Human sexual difference is projected onto objects, and the objects are thus used to confront the human condition, in addition to their sculptural distance from what we consider to be art. Sculptural form becomes humanized and individualized in works such as “Dan”, 1999, “Andy” 1999, and “Isa”, 2000. In these works, Genzken presents colored and mirrored columns that fuse this architectural support with identity. “Soziale Fassade (Social Façade)”, 2002 fuses the viewer’s reflection into the work itself and the compartmentalized picturing implied. In its obvious connection to collapse, 9/11 became a point of reflection for Genzken. In “Da Vinci” 2003, “which consists of four pairs of airliner windows, the last one splattered with paint in a way that suggests an exploded body: Here the dream of flying machines in Leonardo collapses into the nightmare of weaponized jets of 9/11.” (Hal Foster, Artforum. February 2014). In Genzken’s work it seems as though we are all collapsible, suffocated by capitalist excess as seen in “Schauspieler (Actors)” 2013. Buchloh remarks: “Genzken confronts one of the prime calamities of sculpture in the present: a terror that emerges from both the universal equivalence and exchangeability of all objects and materials and the simultaneous impossibility of imbuing any transgressive definition of sculpture with priorities or criteria of selection, of choice, let alone judgement… since total submission to the terror of consumption is indeed the governing stratum of collective object-relations, that psychotic state may well become the only position and practice the sculptor of the future can articulate.”(Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Artforum, 2005) Isa Genzken is represented by Galerie Buchholz in Cologne, David Zwirner in New York and Hauser & Wirth, London. See also: Rachel Harrison, Sarah Lucas, Cady Noland, Jessica Stockholder, Rachel Whiteread, Thomas Schütte, Anselm Kiefer, Martin Kippenberger, Carl Andre, Dan Graham, Lawrence Weiner, Carol Bove, Aaron Curry, Urs Fischer, and Rebecca Warren.

Video: This is Isa Genzken. From: MoMA