Like the fragments of the Berlin Wall, which were quickly removed from the site and installed in museums as emblematic artifacts of a historic moment, the decontextualized concrete slabs that compose Gaudi appear to be repurposed fragments of a once intact and now defunct architectural structure. Elevated on a steel plinth, they become anonymous stand-ins to commemorate any historical moment of destruction or construction. Gaudi compellingly addresses the tenuous duality of beauty and decay, of stability and fragility, which underlie Genzken’s oeuvre and about which Genzken poignantly states: “Fragility can be a very beautiful thing, more beautiful than something that is obviously made to last forever.” (Isa Genzken quoted in: Michael Krajewski in conversation with Isa Genzken, Parkett 69, 2003, p. 96.)
Commenting on the complexity and beauty of Genzken’s oeuvre, curator Alex Farquharson states that “… the trajectory of Genzken’s work seems one of the most fascinating of its time. Rarely in sync with the artistic fashions of the day, her new departures have often only been properly understood some time after the event. Hers is an exceptionally complex oeuvre that has gained in significance over time” (Alex Farquharson, ‘What Architecture Isn’t’ in: Alex Farquharson, Diedrich Diederichsen and Sabine Breitwieser, Isa Genzken, London 2006, p. 33). Gaudi is exemplary of the deeply poignant and humanistic philosophy at the heart of Isa Genzken's aesthetic. Incorporating influences of Minimalism and Constructivism and seamlessly integrating practices of sculpture, photography, installation, and painting, Genzken’s visionary and variegated practice reveals an impressive capacity to translate her multifaceted philosophy into material physicality.
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