Opening on Thursday, February 10th, 2005, David Zwirner will present an exhibition by renowned German artist Isa
Genzken, who lives and works in Berlin. Genzken’s work is included in the 54th Carnegie International at the Carnegie
Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, PA, which is on view through March 20, 2005. In 2002, her work was included in
Documenta 11 in Kassel, Germany. Her recent solo exhibitions include Wasserspeier and Angels at Hauser & Wirth,
London. One of the most revered sculptors in Europe, this is the artist’s first New York exhibition in several years and
consists of entirely new works.
Isa Genzken’s diverse oeuvre includes sculpture, collage, film and photography. Beginning with her painted wood
sculptures and concrete and steel works of the 80s and 90s, Genzken has consistently subverted the art-historical model
without relying on postmodern tropes. Even the earliest works retain a constructivist logic, successfully juxtaposed with
Genzken’s fearless choices and combinations of materials. This exhibition includes work from three important groups:
assemblages, glass sculptures, and low-relief wall works.
A continuation of her work in the Carnegie International, which Genzken began shortly after the September 2001 terrorist
attacks, the assemblages from the Empire/Vampire, Who Kills Death series are combinations of found objects – action
figures, plastic vessels, and various elements of consumer detritus – arranged on pedestals in architecturally inspired, postdestruction
scenes. The works propose a careful balance between traditional presentation (the pedestal as support for an art
object) and the relationship between high and low. A new development since the work she made for the Carnegie
International involves treatment of the pedestals with semi-transparent fluorescent plastic, dripping paint, and colored
tape. In Eber (2004), a synthetic boar’s head, spray-painted pinecones, and a pair of binoculars combine in a postapocalyptic
conglomeration held together by lacquer. Though the initial read suggests mere neglect or abandonment, our
emotional reactions to destructive events permeates these works. Two assemblages are encased in glass vitrines and
illuminated from the interior, reinforcing Genzken’s notion of the public and political relic and paying backhanded
homage to traditional modes of viewing and presenting works of art.
New Buildings, a series of sculptures in glass, wood, and silicone, are semi-transparent, revealing their interior structures.
As stand-ins for the human form and for architecture (or as metaphors for the relationship between the two), these tall, thin
structures are similar in form to the epoxy resin works exhibited in Documenta 11 in 2002. Continuing a dialog begun in
the early concrete and steel works for which she is perhaps best known, these works extend the minimalist notion of the
rectangle as all-inclusive – pedestal, sculpture, figure, and mass – yet they do so within a tactile exterior. In Genzken’s
sculptures, this interior/exterior dichotomy is deftly resolved.
Premiering in this exhibition is a new group of low-relief wall works that function as a formal link between the two bodies
of sculpture, incorporating the geometry and reflective surfaces of the glass pieces (in taped stripes and metal airplane
windows) and the spontaneous grouping of materials that is the aesthetic basis for the assemblages. Genzken’s crossdisciplinary
skill provides a glimpse into her studio practice, thus underscoring the importance of the space surrounding
sculpture as it relates back to and is dependent on the human figure.
For information, please contact the gallery at 212-727-2070, or visit www.davidzwirner.com