Isa Genzken. Sky Energy

22 Feb 2018 – 7 Apr 2018


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David Zwirner is pleased to present new and recent work by Isa Genzken, on view at the gallery’s 533 West 19th Street location.


This exhibition, the artist’s fourth with the gallery, will showcase the diversity of her practice and include a selection of new concrete sculptures, wall-mounted paintings and assemblages, and iterations of her ongoing Schauspieler (Actors) series.

With a career spanning over 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 medium, 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 interrogates the impact of our increasingly commodified and interconnected culture on our everyday lives.

The exhibition takes its name from a sketch for an unproduced screenplay written by the artist in the mid-1990s, “Sky (Fragments for a movie).” Concerned with a dark secret hidden within a suburban home, the text underlines several themes that run through the works on view, such as the tension between public and private, and the deceptive nature of surfaces and facades. 

Having begun working with concrete in the mid-1980s, here Genzken revisits some of her most recognizable forms, including her Paravents (Screens) and Lautsprecher (Loudspeakers). In these sculptures, the artist employs the rough-hewn surfaces of concrete to create works that appear at once heavy and light, modern and decrepit. These forms simultaneously point toward and confound notions of receptivity, communication, and openness that the artist has explored throughout her career. 

The exhibition will feature new examples of Genzken’s “towers,” products of her decades-long fascination with skyscrapers and New York City’s skyline in particular. At once makeshift and monumental, these architectonic forms consist of vertical structures of medium-density fiberboard adorned with mirror foil and spray paint, which, as in her concrete works, complicate the distinctions between interior and exterior space.

Also on view will be iterations of the artist’s ongoing Schauspieler (Actors) series. First presented in her 2013 retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, these works consist of elaborately outfitted mannequins holding an array of props and accessories. Styled by the artist somewhere between high-fashion models and post-apocalyptic survivors, these figures represent Genzken’s most explicit engagement with the human form, confronting viewers with a distorted reflection of the world around them. 

In addition, the exhibition will include a range of assemblages of tape, foil, spray paint, and photographs on aluminum and plaster panels, many of which feature images (including an X-ray) of the artist and her work. Genzken will also debut new hybrid forms that combine her Schauspieler figures with these wall-mounted panels, erasing the distinction between two- and three-dimensional works. ​

Exhibiting artists

Isa Genzken


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