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Isa Genzken

Works from 1973 to 1983

Gegenwart / 05.09.2020–24.01.2021 / Curator: Søren Grammel

Isa Genzken is widely recognized as one of the most important living artists. Her body of work has inspired and challenged generations of artists.

The exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart and Neubau is dedicated to the artist’s early oeuvre. The exhibition opens with works from her time as a student at the Düsseldorf Academy of Fine Arts (1973–1977) and details the evolution of her art up to 1983. The works shown include sculptures, computer printouts, extensive series of drawings, photographs and films.

The artist blends conceptual approaches with personal themes. Many works that initially seem to be exercises in geometric abstraction prove upon closer examination to be traces of her own existence, telling stories of personal relationships and the vagaries of desire. Her work during this period also responds to minimalism and conceptual art, two dominant approaches in America and Western Europe at the time. Genzken insistently plays with basic forms and materials that dominate the architectural and social spaces around us. Yet the exhibition also reveals how she continually raises questions concerning the very nature of human existence.