Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Smeared into Gleam

Isa Genzken's wall pieces, some of which are at Hauser and Wirth, refer fairly clearly back to the late Robert Rauschenberg's screen-prints and combines, not least in her use of the astronaut motif. But where Rauschenberg, through a process of superimposition and collage, forged a means of mapping a culture supersaturated with visual imagery, Genzken, through her seas of shining steel, dotted here and there with tiny archipelagoes of coherent imagery, does something else. Rauschenberg attempts to grasp the experience of the society of the spectacle, but Genzken is content with a notation precisely of the failure of such an attempt. The passage of the eye across the work is thus a constant glissement: the burnished steel notating nothing more than the opacity of Capital's global flows, an infinity of images smeared into a single gleaming surface, in which we think we sometimes glimpse ourselves.

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