Isa Genzken: Framing and referencing empty space

“I do not want to take away space with my sculptures. I add space.” –Isa Genzken

Guest Contributor Peter Dudek / Isa Genzken’s sculpture Two Orchids (image at top) was recently installed at the entrance to Central Park on the corner of 60th Street and Fifth Avenue. Partly in recognition of the occasion, on February 29 the Public Art Fund  hosted “Isa Genzken in Conversation with Randy Kennedy, Daniel Buchholz and Nicholas Baume” at the New School’s 12th Street Auditorium.

 Isa Genzken, ABC, 1987, in Münster.
Genzken presented an overview of her realized and unrealized public art
projects from the mid-1980s to the present day. What was evident from
the start was her interest in emptiness and its loss. In New York,
robust development has occurred over the past 30 years, as developers
and architects have  filled and privatized
acres of space, both on the ground and in the sky.

Isa Genzken, Gate for Amsterdam, model.

Isa Genzken, Ring, model.
 Isa Genzken, Camera, 1990.

In her sharply conceived and executed work, Genzken has used
architectural materials and methods to opposite ends. That is, she has
created sculptures that allow for and invite physical or visual access.
By framing and referencing the space within the park and behind the
sculptures, they pronounce emptiness desirable–a valued phenomenon.

The celebration of empty space is a recurring theme for Genzken. Even when one of her sculptures assumes substantial physical mass, as in the proposed but unrealized Gate for Amsterdam, there is a void at the heart of the piece. And the openings of Camera in Brussels and ABC in Münster frame a view, such that one peers through the sculpture to the ground or the sky. None of her work obstructs.
In Ring, intended for but not installed in Rotterdam, a steel oval encircled a space between two buildings. It was as if the piece were saying: “Here, this space is for you.”

“Isa Genzken: Two Orchids,” Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park located at the corner of 60th Street and 5th Avenue. Through August 21, 2016.

Related posts:
Peter Dudek on Presentational Sculpture*
Sculptural objects around town

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Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

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