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Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam acquires painting by Isa Genzken
Isa Genzken, Zwei Lampen, lacquer on canvas, 1994, 200 x 92 cm., collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

AMSTERDAM.- Beatrix Ruf, who began her tenure as director of Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam on November 1, has made her first acquisition: the painting Zwei Lampen, of 1994, by Isa Genzken (Germany, 1948), one of the most important and influential artists of the last thirty years.

In 2009, Isa Genzken mounted her first retrospectives at Museum Ludwig, Cologne and London’s Whitechapel Gallery. In 2013 the MoMA in New York staged her largest survey exhibition to date. Genzken works across a variety of media including sculpture, painting, photography, collage, drawing, artist’s books, films and installations.

Genzken’s work draws upon the multiplicity of objects in our everyday environment and the speedy consumption and dynamism of the city. She often comments upon the way in which we construct, and subsequently destroy, our environment and society. Genzken also addresses the rapid succession of styles in fashion, design and media, in which the new cannot emerge until the old has been swept away. Genzken sees this pattern as a human expression of hope. Her artistic tone varies from hard conceptual to playful and frivolous.

The Stedelijk Museum first acquired work by Isa Genzken in 1985 and has since added other pieces to the collection including photography, a sculpture and an installation. Paintings by Genzken are extremely rare and hence highly sought-after by both museums and private collectors.

About the acquisitions, Beatrix Ruf says: “Having just been appointed as the new director of the Stedelijk, I was informed about the availability of this rare early painting—and it immediately struck me that this work would be the perfect addition to her already existing body of works in the collection of the Stedelijk. The way she uses the shape of these classic design lamps, in such a layered technique, makes it also an image of light itself. The work reverberates with paintings of Rembrandt as well as with the combined silkscreen-painting works of Warhol, it makes us think of great inventions in the medium of photography like Moholy-Nagy, and it naturally links to the Stedelijk’s great collection interweaving art and design. The chance to add a painting of such rareness and importance to the collection of the Stedelijk as a start of my tenure would continue my long standing collaboration with this important artist and emphasize the importance of the dialogue of art and design I would like to engage in the activation of the Stedelijk’s collection.”

The new acquisition is now on display at the Stedelijk Museum.

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