Isa Genzken's work encompasses sculpture, collage, painting and photography. One of the leading artists to have emerged in Germany since the 1980s, Genzken is notable for the way she combines personal elements with references to architecture, modernism and art history. She is interested in the ruins of material culture, particularly architectural detritus, and the combination of materials in her work is remarkable, encompassing animal heads, fluorescent plastic, spray-painted pine cones, concrete blocks, glass, mirrored sheets, aeroplane windows and children's umbrellas, to name a few.
Her work can be aesthetically brutal, as with her Empire/Vampire series (2003-5) - agglomerations of toys and unrelated found objects roughly splattered with paint - and strikingly beautiful, as with her New Buildings for Berlin (2001-4) - small, impeccable crafted glass and silicone skyscrapers. One of her best known and loved works, Rose (1993/7), is a public sculpture of a single long-stemmed rose made from enamelled stainless steel that towers eight metres above Leipzig's museum district Genzken has been exhibiting since the 1970s, and her work has appeared in many of the world's highest-profile exhibitions, including Documenta (1982, 1992 and 2002), the Venice Biennale (1982, 1993 and 2003), Skulptur Projekte in Munster (1987 and 1997) and the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh (2005).