I. Genzken: No, not at all. Conversely, I always have to fight with cheap materials here and now… because I live here and I can’t just pretend I’m in New York. Incidentally, Josef Strau did an outdoor sculpture for me recently, and a lot of young artists were really enthusiastic about it at the opening. I certainly hadn’t expected that, because I had just thought it would be a good idea to do something simple for a change. But that’s exactly what appealed to them: something can be relatively big but still cheap.
Of course, Americans are totally different in this respect. They love seeing that something is expensive. I was lucky with my exhibition "Fuck the Bauhaus" 1, in New York in 2000, because I exhibited some sculptures made of cheap materials, and the show was still a big success. Maybe it’s just that Americans can really relax when they see something simple for a change. Do you see what I mean? Something no-one expects to see in America.

W. Tillmans: But the work with Josef Strau is really beautiful, too. How did you get the idea for something like that?

I. Genzken: Well, at first I wanted to put blinds on the building. But when I do something I’ve already done before, I sometimes have a certain feeling of uncertainty. Although I am falling back on something that I know is safe and pretty good. But then it was all too expensive. I had seen glowing green, fresh bamboo at the KaDeWe store. It had attracted my attention and I thought it would be nice to do something with it. Back home, sitting over the photo, drawing some things on it, I remembered this lovely green bamboo again and also that there was this fascist building – or partly fascist building – next to the store, a theatre, an ugly building. And then I thought, bamboo is politically correct, that’s just the thing. But I also think it’s visually beautiful. Simple. The work is called "Haare wachsen wie sie wollen" (hair grows the way it wants), and it matches the little Pavilion quite well.

W. Tillmans: And the bamboo, did you actually get it from KaDeWe?

I. Genzken: No. But it’s turned grey now, that looks quite nice, too. Bamboo is normally yellow, and there’s something cheap about it, something touristy – bamboo yellow. And now the weather has turned it grey – from green to grey. I’ve never seen anything like it, this colouring. The colouring gradually adapts to the surroundings, that’s good.

W. Tillmans: You overpainted a photo for this project?

I. Genzken: Yes.

W. Tillmans: Are photos often the starting point for ideas?

I. Genzken: Yes, for outdoor sculptures.

W. Tillmans: Always?
1 Part of the title "Fuck the Bauhaus/New Buildings for New York".
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Home l Team l Contact l Links l Colophon l Deutsch
Isa Genzken l Nicolaus Schafhausen l Commissioners l Partner l History l Press
A text by Benjamin H. D. Buchloh l A conversation with Wolfgang Tillmans
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