Between 2007 and 2010 Isa Genzken made a film with Kai Althoff. Structured episodically, the film moves between slapstick and improvisational theatre, in which the two play out various roles and pair constellations. The film was shot with a basic digital camera, at home and abroad: in Berlin, Cologne and New York. The loosely connected sketches and scenes hinge on love and sex; the weather; illness; money; and, time and again, art. Many of the episodes, whether set up as dialogues or antagonistic exchanges, can be read as allegories of contemporary creative life. In the Dom Hotel in Cologne, Genzken and Althoff enact a scene where a rich woman and a simple waiter manage, just for a moment, to overcome all class barriers. In another, a chain-smoking piano teacher tortures an asthmatic pupil. As detective duo Manni and Renate the two investigate a horrific crime scene. Finally, in a pub scene, Genzken wrangles with the impossibility of social change through art, because political art that “wants to show how miserable the world is”, is often “aesthetically miserable” itself. And in any case, art is only bought by “rich people.” To which Kai Althoff replies, “Well, I like money.”
Isa Genzken, Die Kleine Bushaltestelle (Gerüstbau), 2012, mit Isa Genzken & Kai Althoff, Digitalfilm, 70 Min, courtesy Isa Genzken; Galerie Buchholz Berlin/Köln.
Isa Genzken (*1948) is an artist. She lives and works in Berlin. She represented Germany at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. In 2009 the Museum Ludwig in Köln showed an extensive retrospective of her work.