News — 17 Nov 2015

Amsterdam, November 13, 2015 - The exhibition Isa Genzken: Mach Dich hübsch! presents a survey of the extraordinary oeuvre of Isa Genzken (Germany, 1948), one of the most influential artists of the last forty years. The exhibition is the first major retrospective of Genzken in the Netherlands and is her largest survey to date, comprising over 200 works. The exhibition will open during Amsterdam Art Weekend 2015.

Mach Dich hübsch! is an odyssey through four decades of an astonishing practice defined by artistic freedom and bold inventiveness. The first room introduces the concept of the exhibition. It was designed, in collaboration with Genzken, as a comprehensive installation of older works mixed with very recent work, which she created for this exhibition. In the following suite of galleries, Genzken’s oeuvre is presented as a montage, not a chronology, to highlight interconnections and thematic threads. The artist engages with themes such as artistic position, the body, identity, the (self) portrait, architecture, and big-city culture.
Genzken’s oeuvre is rooted in the medium of sculpture, and is distinguished by radical experimentation and the unconstrained use of media. The artist works across a wide range of media, which includes sculpture, installation, film, video, painting, work on paper, collage, and photography. The radical inventiveness of her work, rich in autobiographical elements and subtle social critique, serves as a reference point and inspiration source for generations of artists and art lovers.

Curator Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen says, "Isa Genzken creates art that engages with the present moment. With her startling sculptural vision, she reflects upon the material world around us and the structures that dictate our lives. Among artists, Genzken's embodiment of the challenging, unconventional tradition of the Stedelijk Museum is virtually without equal.” 

The artist has a special relationship with Amsterdam. She visited the Stedelijk Museum in her youth, and held one of her first exhibitions in the Amsterdam gallery Van Krimpen. The Stedelijk has been collecting her work since 1985, and holds several key works from her oeuvre. In 2014, newly appointed director Beatrix Ruf’s first acquisition for the museum was a Genzken painting, Zwei Lampen (1994).

Artist’s book Mach Dich hübsch! 

The exhibition's title Mach Dich hübsch! is derived from the special artist’s book, published on the occasion of the exhibition. The book, a scrapbook in the style of Genzken’s well-known publication I Love New York, Crazy City, is full of playful collages in which she reflects on big-city life, media culture, sexual identity, and her own biography. The original publication is on view in the exhibition. A facsimile is available in the shop, priced at € 39,80 (ISBN 978-3-86335-869-3).


Isa Genzken through the eyes of others Januari – January/February 2016
In a gallery debate, distinguished speakers from the worlds of music, fashion, and (pop) culture reflect on Genzken’s oeuvre, each from their own particular area of expertise. Each speaker will offer their insights on a different facet of the interdisciplinary crosscurrents in Genzken’s practice.
Stedelijk | Forum: Finissage March 5, 2016
The exhibition closes with a forum program in which the most significant authors to have written on Isa Genzken over the last five years will share their views.


During the exhibition, the Stedelijk is hosting an exciting range of activities, such as children’s art workshops inspired by Genzken’s work, a variety of guided tours, an evening program designed for art students, and a special version of the Mood App so the public can experience the exhibition in two different moods.

This exhibition is made possible with leading support of Stichting Hartwig Foundation, support of a private benefactor and the LUMA Foundation.

Note to editors:

For more information and images, please contact the Press Office of the Stedelijk Museum, Annematt Ruseler, +31 (0)20 573 26 660 or