An installation view of the exhibition, Isa Genzken: Paris New York, at David Zwirner Paris, in 2020.

Isa Genzken

Paris New York

David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of recent work by the German artist Isa Genzken, on view at the gallery’s Paris location. This will be the artist’s fifth solo exhibition with David Zwirner and her first solo show in Paris since 2010. The exhibition coincides with a major presentation of Genzken’s early work at the Kunstmuseum Basel.

 

With a career spanning more than four decades, Genzken has incessantly probed the shifting boundaries between art, design, architecture, media, technology, and the individual. Her prodigious oeuvre frequently incorporates seemingly disparate materials and imagery to create complex, enigmatic works that range in media, including sculpture, painting, collage, drawing, film, and photography. Deeply attuned to both the legacies of the twentieth-century avant-garde and the materials and forms of twenty-first-century global society, Genzken’s work viscerally interrogates the impact of our increasingly commodified and interconnected culture on our everyday lives.

 

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Image: Installation view, Isa Genzken, Paris New York, David Zwirner, Paris, 2020

 

Dates
August 29October 10, 2020
Artist

“Artists should not look to the left or the right. Art should be strong and nonconformist—and most importantly, art should always be personal.”


Isa Genzken

A photo of the artist Isa Genzken.

Isa Genzken

Isa Genzken

Isa Genzken's work draws upon everyday material culture, including design, consumer goods, the media, architecture, and urban environments. Widely recognized for her pioneering contribution to sculpture, her oeuvre also includes paintings, collages, drawings, films, and photographs, and frequently incorporates seemingly disparate materials and imagery to create complex, enigmatic works.


When Genzken received the 2019 Nasher Prize, awarded annually by the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas to artists making an “extraordinary impact” on the understanding of sculptural form, the artist and Nasher Prize juror Phyllia Barlow said: “Genzken makes work that retains its spontaneity right to the last. She uses an extraordinarily diverse range of materials and forms, so there is a continuous unpredictability as to what the next body of work might and can be. The work is always evolving and therefore her influence is exceptional on artists of all ages.”

An installation view of the exhibition, Isa Genzken: Paris New York, at David Zwirner Paris, in 2020.

Installation view, Isa Genzken: Paris New York, David Zwirner, Paris, 2020

Installation view, Isa Genzken: Paris New York, David Zwirner, Paris, 2020

An untitled MDF tower, aluminum plate, foil, spray paint, mirror foil, and fabric tape sculpture by Isa Genzken, dated 2018.

Isa Genzken

Untitled, 2018
MDF tower, two (2) aluminum plates, foil, spray paint, mirror foil, and fabric tape
114 1/8 x 36 5/8 x 32 5/8 inches
290 x 93 x 83 cm
An untitled MDF tower, mannequins, leather, plastic tape, hospital gown, jumper with transfer print, and jumper sculpture by Isa Genzken, dated 2018.

Isa Genzken

Untitled, 2018
MDF tower, three (3) mannequins, leather, plastic tape, hospital gown, jumper with transfer print, and jumper
94 1/8 x 76 3/8 x 70 7/8 inches
239 x 194 x 180 cm

“What I think is important when we talk about Isa Genzken’s influence on younger generations of artists is that we shouldn’t just look for stylistic resemblance, but that it’s about a certain method and a certain attitude toward dealing with materiality and process.”

Jörg Heiser

An installation view of the exhibition, Isa Genzken: Paris New York, at David Zwirner Paris, in 2020.

Installation view, Isa Genzken: Paris New York, David Zwirner, Paris, 2020

Installation view, Isa Genzken: Paris New York, David Zwirner, Paris, 2020

“Her humor and her attitude [inspire me]. Her freedom of materials that gives her work its sculptural form and disorder, this combination that seemingly questions ideals of good taste and beauty. Seeing Isa’s work gives me a feeling of endless possibilities and permission not to worry about aesthetics. It gives me the power to be radical in my own practice and trust my intuition.”

Lara Schnitger, artist

An untitled acrylic lacquer, golden tape, c-print, and sticker on aluminium panel work by Isa Genzken, dated 2018.

Isa Genzken

Untitled, 2018
Acrylic lacquer, golden tape, c-print, and sticker on aluminium panel
27 1/2 x 39 3/8 inches
70 x 100 cm
An untitled acrylic lacquer, mirror foil, c-print, card, plastic foil, and paper on aluminium panel work by Isa Genzken, dated 2018.

Isa Genzken

Untitled, 2018
Acrylic lacquer, mirror foil, c-print, card, plastic foil, and paper on aluminium panel
27 1/2 x 40 1/8 inches
70 x 102 cm

Genzken’s “tower’’ sculptures reflect her decades-long fascination with architecture and urban skylines. At once makeshift and monumental, these architectonic forms consist of fiberboard adorned with mirror foil, spray paint, and other media. Engaging the architectural and sculptural histories of modernism, the towers are physically imposing, yet their materials and open form allude to the vulnerability of the modern built environment.

An untitled acrylic lacquer, c-pints, mirror tape, tape, and sticker on aluminium panel work by Isa Genzken, dated 2018.

Isa Genzken

Untitled, 2018
Acrylic lacquer, c-pints, mirror tape, tape, and sticker on aluminium panel
27 1/2 x 39 3/8 inches
70 x 100 cm

The artist’s panel works incorporate commercially available materials and a range of found and traditional media, such as images of corporate towers, disposable packaging, personal photographs, and acrylic paint. As the curator Laura Hoptman has noted, Genzken’s collages “are carefully planned to give the maximum transformative effect.”

An installation view of the exhibition, Isa Genzken: Paris New York, at David Zwirner Paris, in 2020.

Installation view, Isa Genzken: Paris New York, David Zwirner, Paris, 2020

Installation view, Isa Genzken: Paris New York, David Zwirner, Paris, 2020

“If you walk around my works and pay attention to the scenery, something different always emerges and you can always discover something new and sympathize with it.… I didn’t want these modernistic, flung-down objects that strive to avoid all content.”


Isa Genzken

An installation view of the exhibition, Isa Genzken: Paris New York, at David Zwirner Paris, in 2020.

Installation view, Isa Genzken: Paris New York, David Zwirner, Paris, 2020

Installation view, Isa Genzken: Paris New York, David Zwirner, Paris, 2020

“Isa’s work is a critique and celebration of aesthetic codes simultaneously.… I see the loss and destruction of the Bauhaus reflected in Isa’s work alongside a mockery of postwar attempts to codify form and create rules. So in this way I think she is socially aware in an aesthetic sense, open to the production of viable passages away from orthodoxy.”

Liam Gillick, artist

A plaster bust on wooden base, MDF plinth, postcard, sticker, and felt pen sculpture by Isa Genzken, titled Nefertiti, dated 2018.

Isa Genzken

Nefertiti, 2018
Plaster bust on wooden base, MDF plinth, postcard, sticker, and felt pen
74 3/4 x 12 5/8 x 14 5/8 inches
190 x 32 x 37 cm

“The intention is to get a different reaction from the ‘already known.’ I can’t explain it any other way.”

—Isa Genzken, in conversation with Wolfgang Tillmans

An untitled acrylic lacquer, c-print, bubble wrap, plastic foil, jewellery, and thread on aluminium panel work by Isa Genzken, dated 2018.

Isa Genzken

Untitled, 2018
Acrylic lacquer, c-print, bubble wrap, plastic foil, jewellery, and thread on aluminium panel
38 5/8 x 40 1/8 inches
98 x 102 cm
An untitled lacquer paint, bubble wrap, sticker, and metal grill on aluminium panel work by Isa Genzken, dated 2018.

Isa Genzken

Untitled, 2018
Lacquer paint, bubble wrap, sticker, and metal grill on aluminium panel
31 1/2 x 39 3/8 inches
80 x 100 cm

“I always felt that Isa … exposed herself to all the noise and then kind of found a signal.…  [Her work is] reflecting on the materiality of the contemporary through image, through dialogue, through performing network and through thinking about what the materiality of something can be one step removed. I think that was a sensibility that a lot of us looked to.”

Simon Denny, artist

 

A photo of Isa Genzken in her studio, Düsseldorf, in 1982.

Isa Genzken in her studio, Düsseldorf, 1982. Photo by Andreas Schön

Isa Genzken in her studio, Düsseldorf, 1982. Photo by Andreas Schön

A sculpture by Isa Genzken, titled Gelbes Ellipsoid, dated 1976.

Isa Genzken, Gelbes Ellipsoid, 1976

Isa Genzken, Gelbes Ellipsoid, 1976

An artwork by Isa Genzken, titled Die Form entwickelt sich daraus, dass jede der fünf Farben jede andere Farbe berührt (Auswahl), dated 1973.

Isa Genzken, Die Form entwickelt sich daraus, dass jede der fünf Farben jede andere Farbe berührt (Auswahl), 1973

Isa Genzken, Die Form entwickelt sich daraus, dass jede der fünf Farben jede andere Farbe berührt (Auswahl), 1973

Opening on September 5 at Kunstmuseum Basel, Isa Genzken: Works from 1973 to 1983 is a major show of works from the first decade of the artist’s career. Leading up to the first presentations of her work at the Venice Biennale and documenta in 1982, this period saw the creation of important series, including the “Ellipsoids” and “Hyperbolos.

 

An untitled MDF towers, print on canvas, spray can, metal grill, parasol, aluminum foil tape, and flyer sculpture by Isa Genzken, dated 2018.

Isa Genzken

Untitled, 2018
Two (2) MDF towers, print on canvas, seven (7) spray cans, metal grill, parasol, aluminum foil tape, and flyer
116 7/8 x 110 1/4 x 78 3/4 inches
297 x 280 x 200 cm
An untitled MDF tower, chair, mirror foil, silicon, model building parts, paint, and plastic grid sculpture by Isa Genzken, dated 2018.

Isa Genzken

Untitled, 2018
MDF tower, chair, mirror foil, silicon, model building parts, paint, and plastic grids
118 1/8 x 28 3/4 x 34 5/8 inches
300 x 73 x 88 cm

“I love the sense of total freedom that characterizes Isa’s practice. The way everyday banalities turn deviant in her world is really inspiring to me.’’

 —Anna Uddenberg, artist

An untitled acrylic lacquer on aluminium panel work by Isa Genzken, dated 2018.

Isa Genzken

Untitled, 2018
Acrylic lacquer on aluminium panel
31 7/8 x 40 1/8 inches
81 x 102 cm
An untitled acrylic lacquer, mirror foil, paper, and sticker on aluminium panel work by Isa Genzken, dated 2018.

Isa Genzken

Untitled, 2018
Acrylic lacquer, mirror foil, paper, and sticker on aluminium panel
27 1/2 x 39 3/8 inches
70 x 100 cm
An untitled acrylic lacquer, c-prints, gloves, sticker, wood, cigarette box, paper, pill packet, plant, plastic box, cardboard, badge, glue, and pencil on aluminium panel work by Isa Genzken, dated 2018.

Isa Genzken

Untitled, 2018
Acrylic lacquer, c-prints, gloves, sticker, wood, cigarette box, paper, pill packet, plant, plastic box, cardboard, badge, glue, and pencil on aluminium panel
27 1/2 x 39 3/8 x 2 1/2 inches
70 x 100 x 6.5 cm

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