Isa Genzken





Isa Genzken is one of the most important and influential artists of the last 40 years. Her innovative, multi-faceted, complex, and uncompromising work was presented in a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2013, the artist’s first large solo show in the United States. It was also shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Dallas Museum of Art. This comprehensive exhibition included assemblage, sculpture, painting, photography, collage, drawing, artist’s books, and film, as well as expansive installations, which not only highlighted Isa Genzken’s free utilization of multiple techniques and mediums, but also the radical shifts that she repeatedly executed in her long, uninterrupted career. Her artistic power is unique and explores the fundamental themes of modernity and urban architecture.

Isa Genzken achieved her first successes in the late 1970s as German and American artists such as Gerhard Richter, Joseph Beuys, Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt, Dan Graham, or Laurence Weiner dominated art-theoretical debates. She studied under Gerhard Richter at the Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf; her American colleagues she met at Galerie Konrad Fischer, where, in 1976, she was the first woman to have a solo show. Even at this early stage, Isa Genzken resisted the primacy of styles, making aesthetically perfect floor sculptures, hyperboloids, and ellipsoids from wood that filled the room and which, although inspired by minimalism, were not reducible to its dogmas nor to those of conceptual art. The sculptures were based on elaborate computer calculations and required a complicated production process. They were designed in such a way as to add a narrative level to that of pure form and the geometric shape became an object charged with content. Achieving a similar result but using diametrically opposed artistic means, Isa Genzken managed to produce Brutalist concrete sculptures in the 1980s. They are magically reminiscent of architectural models or they are called ‘Weltempfänger’ (short wave radio receivers) and suggest that a concrete block equipped with an antenna can also be an object filled with meaning. In contrast to earlier sculptures, the production process here could be greatly simplified and returned to the studio, which was important for the artist. During this period she worked more radically than anyone else on redefining what sculpture could mean. Within a discourse of fundamental questioning, this corresponded to an inherent logic whereby from the late 1990s she created complex narrative installations, in which materials from the consumer-oriented world of goods were brought together and transformed into impressive scenarios recalling film sets.

Isa Genzken, born 1948 in Bad Oldesloe, has taken part in international exhibitions since 1980: 1982, 1992, and 2002 documenta 7, IX and 11; 1982, 1993, 2003 Venice Biennale, 2007 solo presentation at the German Pavilion; 1987, 1997, 2007 Skulptur Projekte Münster; 2001 Istanbul Biennale; 2004 Carnegie International, Pittsburgh; 2016 Gropius Bau, Berlin. Selected solo shows: 2021 Kunstsammlungen Nordrhein Westfallen, K21, Düsseldorf; 2019 Kunsthalle Bern, 2016 Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn; 2015 Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; 2015 Museum für Moderne Kunst MMK, Frankfurt a.M.; 2014 The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; 2014 Dallas Museum of Art; 2014 Museum der Moderne, Salzburg; 2013 Museum of Modern Art, New York; 2012 Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin; 2010 New Museum, New York; 2010 Museion, Bolzano; 2009 Museum Ludwig, Cologne; 2003 Kunsthalle Zürich etc.



born in Bad Oldesloe

lives and works in Berlin


Studies at University of Fine Arts, Hamburg


Studies photography and graphic at University of Fine Arts, Berlin


Studies Art history and Philosophy at the University of Cologne


Studies at Art Academy, Düsseldorf


received the "Kaiserring"

Selected Solo Shows


Ohr – Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin


Zeichnung Plan Collage 1965–2018 – Galerie Buchholz, Berlin

Basic Research – Jahn und Jahn, Munich/Lisbon

75/75 – Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin


Here and Now – Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf

Glenstone Museum, Potomac

Works from 1973 to 1983 and Hier und Jetzt – K20/K21

Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf

David Zwirner, Hong Kong


Isa Genzken – David Zwirner, Paris

Works from 1973 to 1983 – Kunstmuseum Basel; Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf

Nüsschen – Galerie Buchholz, New York City

Window – Hauser & Wirth, London


Isa Genzken – Kunsthalle Bern

Collagen – Jahn und Jahn, Munich

Peder Lund Gallery, Oslo


Außenprojekte – Galerie Buchholz, Berlin

Sky Energy – David Zwirner, New York

Recent Works, Hall Art Foundation – Schloss Derneburg Museum


Issie Energy – König Galerie, Berlin


Modelle für Außenprojekte – Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn

Mach dich hübsch! – Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin

Portraits – Galerie Buchholz, New York

I Love Michael Asher – Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, Los Angeles

Two Orchids – Doris C. Freedman Plaza, New York


Mach dich hübsch! – Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Iza Genzken. New Works – Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt a.M.

Isa Genzken – David Zwirner, New York

El Salvador – Galerie Buchholz, Berlin

Basic Research Paintings, 1989-1991 – Institute of Contemporary Art, London

Hauser & Wirth, London


New Works – Museum der Moderne, Salzburg

Basic Research Paintings, 1989-1991 – Fondazine Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin

Botanical Garden – Inverleith House, Edinburgh

I’m Isa Genzken, the Only Female Fool – Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna


Isa Genzken: Retrospective – MoMA, New York

Early Works – Galerie Buchholz, Berlin

Chicago and Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas

Soltanto un quadro al massimo: Isa Genzken - Giuseppe Penone – Villa Massimo, Rome


Hallelujah – Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin

Hauser & Wirth, Zurich


Between You and I - Intervention 2: Wind by Isa Genzken – Witte de With, Rotterdam

Museion, Bolzano

Rose II, Facade Sculpture Program – New Museum, New York

Mona Isa – Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris


Isa Genzken: Open, Sesame! – Whitechapel Gallery, London

Isa Genzken: Sesam, öffne dich! – Museum Ludwig, Cologne

Wind – Galerie Buchholz, Berlin

Jarla Partilager, Stockholm

Oil XV/XVI – Rat Hole Gallery, Tokyo

Wind – neugerriemschneider, Berlin

Drei Vollellipsoide Skulpturen, 1978 – Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt a.M.


Ground Zero – Hauser & Wirth, London

Ground Zero (2) – Between Bridges, London


Oil – German pavilion, Venice Biennale

New Work – David Zwirner, New York

Isa Genzken Special – Witte de With, Rotterdam

Wir sind hier in Dresden. Der Amerikanische Raum. Wasserspeier and Angels – Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Zwinger


Isa Genzken – Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck

Isa Genzken – Secession, Vienna

Sport – Camden Art Centre, London

neugerriemschneider, Berlin


Kinder filmen – Galerie Buchholz, Berlin

New Work, David Zwirner

Der Spiegel 1989-1991 – The Photographer’s Gallery, London


Wasserspeier and Angels – Hauser & Wirth, London

China Art Objects, Los Angeles


Isa Genzken – Kunsthalle Zurich

Berlin Headlines – The Wrong Gallery, New York

Empire Vampire Teil II – neugerriemschneider, Berlin


Isa Genzken – Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach

Haare wachsen, wie sie wollen, Skulpturenprojekt am Pavillon – Galerie Meerrettich, Berlin


Magnani, London

AC: Isa Genzken, Wolfgang Tillmans - Science Fiction/Hier und jetzt zufrieden sein – Museum Ludwig, Cologne

Galerie Buchholz, Cologne


Isa Genzken: Sie sind mein Glück – Kunstverein Braunschweig

Urlaub – Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt a.M.

Fuck the Bauhaus (New Buildings for New York) – AC Project Room, New York


Liebe als Wesen – Fries Museum, Leeuwarden


Neue Arbeiten – Galerie Buchholz, Cologne

Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle (with Caroline van Damme)

INIT-Kunsthalle, Berlin


Robert Prime, London


MetLife Isa Genzken – Generali Foundation, Vienna


Skulpturen – Galerie Stadtpark, Krems

Neue Arbeiten – Galerie Buchholz, Cologne

Xavier Hufkens, Brussels


Jeder braucht mindestens ein Fenster – Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels

Jeder braucht mindestens ein Fenster – Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich

Skizzen für einen Spielfilm – Kunsthalle, Bremen

Kleines Zimmer – Buchholz und Buchholz, Cologne


Jeder braucht mindestens ein Fenster – Portikus, Frankfurt a.M.

Everybody needs at least one window – The Renaissance Society, Chicago

Galerie Buchholz, Cologne

more light should be – Marian Goodman Gallery, New York


Vom 23. Stock aus – Galerie Jürgen Becker, Hamburg

Werke 1987-1991 – Galerie Fred Jahn, Stuttgart


Galerie Ryszard Varisella – Berliner Pavillon, Frankfurt a.M.

Galerie Meert-Rhioux, Brussels

Arbeiten auf Papier 1987 – Galerie Jahn und Fusban, Munich

Galleria Pieroni, Rome


Isa Genzken – Kunstmuseum Winterthur

Isa Genzken – Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam


Isa Genzken – Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn

Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Berlin

Galerie Ghislaine Hussenot, Paris


Isa Genzken Arbeiten auf Papier – Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich


Isa Genzken – Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich


Galleria Pieroni, Rome


Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne

Forum Kunst Rottweil


Institut Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt


Galerie Max Hetzler, Stuttgart

Galerie van Krimpen, Amsterdam


Museum Hans Lange, Krefeld


Galerie Konrad Fischer, Dusseldorf


Isa Genzken – Konrad Fischer Galerie, Dusseldorf