Busts of Nefertiti and Mona Lisa inspire German artist Isa Genzken at Hauser and Wirth

By Ben Miller | 14 November 2012
An image of a series of heads on large white pedestals inside a modern art gallery
Isa Genzken, Untitled (installation in artist's studio) (2012). Nefertiti plaster busts with glasses on wooden base, wooden plinths, belt, colour photographs in aluminium frames© Courtesy Isa Genzken, Hauser and Wirth / Galerie Buchholz, Cologne
Exhibition Preview: Isa Genzken, Hauser and Wirth London, London, November 15 2012 – January 12 2013

After seeing a bust of Nefertiti, an ancient icon of feminine beauty, at the Egyptian Museum in her native Berlin, artist Isa Genzken decided to appropriate a series of plaster reproductions of the beady-eyed sculpture, adorning them with sunglasses, placing them atop tall, white pedestals and pairing them with replica portraits of Mona Lisa.

An image of a series of pop art collages across a gallery floor including magazine cutouts
Untitled (2012). Wallpaper, paper, stickers, colour prints, picnic blanket, tape, glass© Courtesy Isa Genzken / Hauser and Wirth. Photo: Stefan Altenburger Photography Zürich
Modernist architecture, pop culture and the lineage of female beauty inform her totemic installations, but the stacked potted plants, designer furniture, empty shipping crates and photographs have more to do with a sense of urban chaos.

Indeed, in the North Gallery Genzken has recreated skyscrapers and city streets, dense collages, magazine flyers and snapshots of her friends.

Three years after her first major retrospective at the Whitechapel, the artist who studied with Gerhard Richter is preparing for her first US museum survey, at New York’s Museum of Modern Art next year. This show finds her in typically playful form.

  • Hauser and Wirth London, Savile Row, London. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm. Admission free. Follow the gallery on Twitter @hauserwirth.

More pictures:

A photo of a sculpture of various asssembled wooden boxes next to a cartoon painting
Hallelujah (New Museum) (2012). Wooden crates, acrylic on canvas, plastic, glass, dried branches, artificial flowers, casters© Courtesy Isa Genzken / Hauser and Wirth. Photo: Stefan Altenburger Photography Zürich
A photo of a series of collages approximated from various magazine cut-outs in a gallery
Untitled (2012). Colour prints, tape, paint, mirror foil, perspex, photographs© Courtesy Isa Genzken / Hauser and Wirth. Photo: Stefan Altenburger Photography Zürich
Untitled (2012). MDF, plastic, glass, mirror foil, perspex, tape, spraypaint, colour prints, glass figures, mask, fabric, metal, artificial flower, artificial hair, casters
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