With this years documenta at the latest, the Cologne-based artist Isa Genzken (b. 1948) has become known to a broader audience. After documenta 7, in 1982, this was her second participation in what is likely the most significant international art event. Apart from her autonomous, mainly sculptural works, Genzken has, in the past years, been able to realise a series of sculptures in public space, either as temporary works such as the double gate ("ABC") in the context of the exhibition "Skulptur-Projekte in Münster 1987" or as permanent installations such as her recently erected gigantic "Spiegel" ("Mirror", 1992) on the forecourt of the Bielefeld Municipal Hall.

Still, it hasn't been easy for the critics to adequately interpret her work which now spans a period of over fifteen years. At first sight, there seems to be a striking breach between her works from the early eighties - the stretched-out ellipsoids and hyperbolas stemming from exact mathematical calculations and almost representing an industrial aesthetics - and today's sculptures resembling architecture, sculptures that are at once constructive and ruinous.

Only after one recognises the play between openness and closure, between stringency and fragility, as well as the perpetual application of geometry as organon of her artistic investigation of sculpture and sculptural space, can the seemingly heterogeneous groups of works be brought together.

There is, however, one important aspect that is increasingly crystallising in her recent works, something that was not thematised in her earlier works and may have to do with decisive personal experiences: the reference of her sculptures to the viewer, and - in more general terms - to the human body and its proportions. The metaphorical meaning of the exhibition title she chose becomes accessible in this respect. Organised by Portikus Frankfurt, the exhibition by Isa Genzken is the second stop of a tour including four exhibition sites (Chicago, Frankfurt, Brussels, Munich). The exhibitions will vary in character from site to site. In Frankfurt, where the artist until recently was a visiting professor at Städelschule for a year, Genzken presents ca. 29 works created between 1980 and 1992.

Photos: Katrin Schilling