Exhibition details ::: Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main

Isa Genzken

Drei Vollellipsoide Skulpturen, 1978


28 November 2009 — 31 January 2010

From November 28, 2009 to January 31, 2010 MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst will be hosting “3 Vollellipsoide Skulpturen”, an exhibition of works by Isa Genzken. First showcased in 1978 at the Kabinett für aktuelle Kunst in Bremerhaven, the exhibition marks an important point in Genzken’s career, as it was her very first solo show in a municipal gallery. 

40 Years Kabinett für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremerhaven. 
An MMK Exhibition series in collaboration with Gregor Schneider and Moritz Wesseler.

The MMK’s reconstruction of the original presentation can be seen as part of the larger series of outstanding exhibition dedicated to Isa Genzken’s oeuvre that kicked off in 2007 at the Venice Biennial and first culminated in the comprehensive retrospectives in the Whitechapel Gallery, London and Museum Ludwig, Cologne this year. On the occasion of our “Double” exhibition series, three different so-called ellipsoid sculptures by Isa Genzken will be on show for two months at MMK – offering a fascinating insight into the works of her important early period. 

These different colored wooden objects, gleaming in satin paint, derive from construction plans for the geometric shapes that were calculated using a computer. The artistic strategy of industrial, de-individualized manufacturing would seem to contradict the material properties – if we were to conclude from the use of wood that it was worked by a traditional craftsman. Despite the underlying geometric/technological system of manufacture, the biomorphic/organic shape of the finished object has no visual fissures, for covered as they are with satin synthetic enamel the smoothly polished ellipsoids do not at first sight reveal a grain or any of the other characteristic signs of wood. Sculptural individuality is nevertheless manifest, not least through the different colors, modified sizes and forms. The closed spear-like shapes open out into canoe-like objects, showing shifts in the surface that are also emphasized by high-contrast colors. It is as if the ellipsoids changed their nature in the course of the series, progressing to a more open use of the underlying geometric shape. All these works exude an immense sense of fragility. Yet they also possess a great deal of tension and dynamism as a result of the way they engage with the room as a white cube. The ellipsoids penetrate space like arrows, simultaneously appropriating and constituting that space anew, as they lie flat on the ground, with no underlying base thus negating the principle of sculptural verticality. 

MMK is delighted to be showcasing what was the first major exhibition of the works of Isa Genzken, an artist who is now considered to be one of the most famous and influential in Germany. This reconstruction 30 years after the original show has been made possible by generous loans, as all the sculptures involved are scattered across various renowned collections in Germany.