For more than thirty years, Isa Genzken has been developing a versatile oeuvre, continually extending it by adding new aspects. Her settings, her unusual combinations of materials, and the fragile but monumental character of her constructions reflect the surrounding world and the fragility of human existence.
Her work—which includes sculptures and installations as well as photography, collage, and film—explores the space between public claims and private artistic autonomy, thus defining an interface where the personal and the universal meet. The formal and conceptual rigor at the root of Isa Genzken’s approach is tempered by unrestricted freedom, producing works that can be interpreted and experienced on very different levels
A central role is played by the choice and combination of materials with different connotations which the artist finds at home depots, builders’ suppliers, and department stores: whereas in the past Genzken used wood, plaster, epoxy resins, and above all concrete, the material of Modernism, her main materials today are plastic, synthetics, and a wide range of mirrors, as well as everyday items and consumer goods such as chairs—design classics alongside cheap camping chairs—garments, and plastic dolls and animals.
In an interview with Wolfgang Tillmans, Isa Genzken describes the way she thinks a sculpture should look: “It must have a certain relation to reality. I mean, not airy-fairy, let alone fabricated, so aloof and polite. [...] Rather, a sculpture is really a photo – although it can be shifted, it must still always have an aspect that reality has too.” (in: Camera Austria, 81/2003, p. 7.-18)