I'm going to start my blog with a post about a German sculptor featured in Munster and also the lone occupant of the German Pavilion at Venice: Isa Genzken. She has me more excited than anyone I've found out about since Guyton/Walker/Smith/Price and crew.
Genzken's representative works are usually built in series of like objects: a series of pedestals overtaken by abstracted flower arrangements, a series of vignettes of baby dolls framed by beach umbrellas, a series of paintings on airliner windows, each object embellished with shiny bits of plastic, or piles of coins, or scraps of fabric, or spray paint, or holographic sticker tape, or bits of glass or mirror. The results are a diverse body of sculptures, usually body-scale and often components of larger arrangements-as-installations, as was the case in her installation for the Biennale.
Called "Oil", her exhibition there wrapped the entire pavilion in commercially available orange holey construction plastic and scaffolding. Inside, her sculptures and paintings were strewn about mirrored walls, centered around a clustered field of suitcases topped with stuffed animals and venetian masks. Floating high above them, a trio of astronauts were attached to the ceiling with fishing line.
Genzken is one of the most exciting artists I've found out about in a while. Her formal sensibility is personal but also timely, and has proven flexible throughout her long but now-peaking career. She is acutely aware of cliches and trends of the moment, and presents them as such in a haltingly direct way (for example, her installation in Venice chided many of the surrounding pavilions featuring the utmost in trendy work: taxidermied animals, skulls, and shiny black paint), knowingly using stale images and materials to create stunningly complicated pieces. You tell me that the next thing on our list of things to look at in Munster is a bunch of beach umbrellas and baby dolls with painted faces and I'm less than excited. But seeing the actual results made me call into question Jessica Stockholder as the queen-formalist of assemblage; they were beautiful, humble, but cutting pieces.
Isa Genzken shows with David Zwirner in New York, among other places. Here are some images from his website:
Some more images from around the web: