Since the early 1970s, Isa Genzken has developed an extraordinary practice as evidenced through museum shows such as her recent retrospective at MoMA, New York. Increasingly ambitious displays of the artist’s work have tended toward a focus on large-scale sculptures, installations and impressive wall mounted panel works. Lesser known are her paintings.
Having experimented with a variety of different materials and art forms, to include assemblage and photography, film and video, Genzken also produced two prominent series of paintings spanning the late 80s and early 90s. This included her MLR (More Light Research) works from the early nineties, and the Basic Research paintings produced between 1989-1991. The latter have rarely been shown in isolation, or in the context of a freestanding painting show.
The Basic Research paintings are compelling in that they invite scrutiny from the micro to macro, revealing themselves as close-up impressions of urban architecture, to aerial views of alien landscapes. These works are sometimes compared to the abstract paintings of Gerhard Richter, due to Genzken’s relationship with the artist at that time. By contrast, Genzken’s approach to abstract painting is emboldened through a more straightforward and direct approach, using a limited palette that rarely strays from a range of dark hues such as dark green or brown.
Isa Genzken: Basic Research Paintings was kindly supported by the Isa Genzken Exhibition Supporters Group including Fatima Maleki. The exhibition was also made possible with the help and support of Galerie Buchholz Berlin/Cologne. The exhibition was curated by Gregor Muir and originally featured as part of the ICA touring exhibition Beware Wet Paint held at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in 2014-15.
Isa Genzken: Basic Research Paintings – ICA – until 6 September 2015