chicago

Isa Genzken

The Renaissance Society

Isa Genzken called this overview of her work since 1976 “Jeder braucht mindestens ein Fenster” (Everyone needs at least one window). The title refers directly to some of her most recent interests, serving as an apt metaphor for a body of seemingly divergent work. In a series of photographs from 1980, Genzken examines the multifoliate physiognomy of women’s ears, celebrating in close-up detail the design of pinna and lobe: ears as windows for the body, orifices functioning as intermediaries between the self and the surrounding world. The architecture of the ear is examined as an independent phenomenon but one causally linked to its function. Genzken’s photographs highlight how ears are adorned by jewelry and surrounded by coiffed hair, how these particular “windows” receive their accoutrements, the framing devices that extend and modify their meaning. Ears, like windows, can be overlooked

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