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Isa Genzken

Currently not on display
Acquired in 1984
Inventory number 1179

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'Feuervogel' by Isa Genzken is an elongated wooden sculpture, based on the mathematical figure, the hyperbole. The ends are widest and the sculpture stands on them on the floor. It becomes narrower towards the middle and separates from the ground. One rounded end is circular, the other elliptical. A quarter of the sculpture has been removed across the length. This part is then reduced slightly and has been shifted. At the rounded end, it sticks out slightly; at the elliptical end, it is indented. The outside of the sculpture is evenly painted with matt red paint. The part that is inlaid reveals an even transition of colour from yellow to orange. The narrow cutting edges are light green and the rounded ends are unpainted.

Genzken made a number of wooden sculptures based on the ellipse and the hyperbole between 1976 and 1983, using drawings and computer calculations as a starting point. The ellipsoids are presented lying down, in one place on the floor. The hyperboles can be exhibited either lying down or standing up. Because of their streamlined and elongated shape, these sculptures look light and mobile. They are always colourfully painted. On the one hand, they evoke associations with primitive shapes such as spears or kayaks, while on the other hand, they almost look like contemporary design because of their polished perfection.

In her sculptures Genzken unites all sorts of contrasts, both in terms of content and as regards form. In 'Feuervogel' there is a transition from the shape of a circle to an ellipse carried out with great precision. This fact, in combination with the fact that the wood is polished smooth and evenly painted, contributes to the technical and mathematical character of the work. However, on the rounded ends the original wooden material is still visible. Because of this material, the rounded shape and the length of the sculpture, there are also associations with the natural form of a tree trunk. This is further reinforced because the inlaid part of the sculpture looks like an exposed older annular ring. In this way Genzken combines nature and technology. The predominantly warm colours of this sculpture, in combination with the title 'Feuervogel', give this work an expressive power which seems to contradict the tight mathematical character of the work.