You may be forgiven for thinking that the new exhibition in the upper galleries of the ICA is a photography exhibition – micro and macro shots of the unseen, sweeping aerial views of uninhabited vistas and minute details under back lit scientific plates. In reality, Basic Research Paintings is a series of canvases made by influential German sculptor, Isa Genzken, between 1989 and 1991 when she was married to Gerhard Richter. The influences between the practices of these artists are easy to see, but they couldn’t be further apart. Rarely displayed in isolation, these murky paintings light up the space with their stark honesty and clouded mystery.
Genzken is a Goliath of 20th century art. Since the 1970s her sculptures have been swept into ever expanding national collections and biennial representations; the media hype which surrounded her in the 1980s did nothing to take the sheen off of her cultural reputation and her recent retrospective at MoMA shows that she is one of the biggest names on the international circuit.
So then, why have these paintings not had their soapbox before now?…This review originally featured on The Metropolist website. Read the full review here.
[LEAD IMAGE: Isa Genzken, Basic Research, 1989, oil on canvas, 90 x 75 cm. ICA]