|W. Tillmans: What kind of women were they?
I. Genzken: Well, just women on the street.
W. Tillmans: Women, then, you hardly knew and whose ears you photographed right there and then?
I. Genzken: Yes.
W. Tillmans: I see. Really? On the street? Or did you arrange to meet them?
I. Genzken: No, on the street. It only took a moment. The women always said, what, my ear? Sure! But I never offended anyone by examining them. It was just the ear. And everyone thought that was great. That was a nice experience. For me as a photographer, too. Of course, I did work with some light and hair shining in the sun… I tried to make the situation nice for the ear.
W. Tillmans: What role does self-portrait play?
I. Genzken: I did the X-rays after the hi-fis and the ears. Do you mean them?
W. Tillmans: Are they the first self-portraits? Because you’ve also got the photos in the clinic, those black and white pictures.
I. Genzken: Oh, them. I had just had an operation, I was totally bored and so I just took my camera and took some pictures of myself. Out of boredom. I only realised afterwards that this work was something special. Taking photos in the clinic and publishing them in a catalogue… it suddenly took on a kind of seriousness. Everyone’s scared of clinics, and no-one wants to see what a clinic looks like from the inside. Well not really. And everyone’s a bit scared of having to go there themselves. And there I was in there. And I stand by it. And I used the clinic as a studio and started taking photos. And then I felt better. Just because it let me do something.
Well, and the X-rays… I was just interested in seeing what it looks like inside my head – and the idea that they could just examine the inside of my head like a globe. And then I photographed the façades in New York.
W. Tillmans: That was at the end of the nineties, wasn’t it?
I. Genzken: Yes. I did the books at the end of the nineties, and I did the façades shortly after that.
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