KALEIDOSCOPE's Fall/Winter 2023 issue launches with a set of six covers. Featuring Sampha, Alex Katz, Harmony Korine, a report into the metamorphosis of denim, a photo reportage by Dexter Navy, and a limited-edition cover by Isa Genzken.

Also featured in this issue: London-based band Bar Italia (photography by Jessica Madavo and interview by Conor McTernan), the archives of Hysteric Glamour (photography by Lorenzo Dalbosco and interview by Akio Kunisawa), Japanese underground illustrator Yoshitaka Amano (words by Alex Shulan), Marseille-based artist Sara Sadik (photography by Nicolas Poillot and interview by Daria Miricola), a survey about Japan’s new hip-hop scene starring Tohji (photography by Taito Itateyama and words by Ashley Ogawa Clarke), Richard Prince’s new book “The Entertainers” (words by Brad Phillips), “New Art: London” (featuring Adam Farah-Saad, Lenard Giller, Charlie Osborne, R.I.P. Germain, and Olukemi Ljiadu photographed by Bolade Banjo and interviewed by Ben Broome).

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KALEIDOSCOPE and GOAT are excited to announce that our annual arts and culture festival, MANIFESTO, will return to Paris from June 20 to June 22, coinciding with Men’s Fashion Week. Building on the success of the last two editions held at Espace Niemeyer, a landmark building designed by legendary Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, the festival will again bring together visionary artists and creators from different areas of culture across three days of art, fashion, and sound.



The most southernly city in the US, Miami exists in the tropical recesses of the American imagination: land of celebrity, thunderstorms, Tony Montana, and Art Deco architecture. Here, we meet the latest generation of Miamians—committed radicals in the fields of art, fashion, and music, who are dreaming up new narratives for the city they call home.


These five London-based emerging arts are making work against all odds—work that is difficult and costly to make, store, exhibit, move, and sell. Working across video, sound, installation, and sculpture, they march onwards, carving out their own niche—exhibiting in empty shop spaces one day and major institutions the next. For them, making is guided by urgency, and persistence is motivated by blind faith.


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From 15–21 April 2024, Capsule Plaza returned for its second edition, taking over Spazio Maiocchi and extending to a new satellite venue: iconic Milanese destination 10 Corso Como. A hybrid between a fair and a collective exhibition, Capsule Plaza brings together designers and companies from various creative fields, bridging industry and culture with a bold and multisensory curation that spans interiors and architecture, beauty and technology, innovation and craft.



On the occasion of the 2024 edition of Felix Art Fair, taking place February 28 to March 3 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, KALEIDOSCOPE has partnered with Dover Street Market Los Angeles to present a limited-edition zine. In celebration of the Oscar Tuazon installation, commissioned to host the DSM store inside the hotel's ballroom, KALEIDOSCOPE presents a free publication created in collaboration with the artist, available exclusively to Felix and DSMLA visitors.


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KALEIDOSCOPE hosted a solo exhibition by Marseille-based artist Sara Sadik (b. 1994, Bordeaux), in November 2023 at Spazio Maiocchi in Milan, with the support of Slam Jam. Inspired by videogames, anime, science fiction, and French rap, Sara Sadik’s work explores the reality and fantasies of France’s Maghrebi youth, addressing issues of adolescence, masculinity, and social mythologies. Her work across video, performance, and installation often centers on male characters, using computer-generated scenarios to transform their condition of marginalization into something optimistic and poetic.


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For her retrospective exhibition at Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie, Isa Genzken has presented 75 sculptural assemblages from across her career to celebrate her 75th birthday. On this occasion, we sorted through her archive of invitations cards—historical documents which double as allegories of communication and traces of an unfixed identity.

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Exhibition invitations are often considered functional ephemera—increasingly irrelevant or decadent in the digital age. And yet they are objects that have historically contained their own specific contingencies and potentialities. There is an appealing knottiness in this material. They are not the artworks but they announce exhibitions of artworks, providing the possibility of a different type of creative space for the artist. As historical documents, literally marking time, they trace the trajectory of a career—revealing not only the institutions and galleries who have engaged with an artist’s work but also how the art world has shifted over time.

In many ways, the archive of Isa Genzken’s exhibition invitations conforms to type. Yet, among some generic uses of text-only invitations or “straight-forward” photographs of artworks, there sit a number of portraits of the artist that stand out as atypical. They each seem to hold their own “allegories of communication”—a term that Diedrich Diederichsen has used to describe Genzken’s artworks. Genzken is an artist whose sculptural assemblages (especially from the 2000s onwards) have an air of the spontaneous, of objects and materials thrown together by chance, and yet, in reality, everything has been meticulously planned and considered. Her work is, as Briony Fer once said, “exact, because it is exacting.”
It follows that the space of the invitation has been treated with a similar playful precision. What, then, was Genzken communicating in these minor spaces—what speculations arise?

The conditions under which Genzken entered the German art world in the 1970s have been well documented. Benjamin Buchloh has often noted the sexist environment in which she came of age in Düsseldorf and Cologne in the 1970s and 80s. Isabelle Graw has reflected on living in the “ruthlessly hierarchal” Cologne of the late 1980s—the scene of which Genzken was a part—writing that “any woman seeking to assert herself and gain recognition within this male-dominated milieu first had to endure a certain amount of insult and humiliation.” Jutta Koether has called being an artist-woman in Germany traumatic—determining that Genzken was socialized in a climate where there was “increasing awareness of the extreme dependencies in which the heterosexual woman finds herself ensnared.” Indeed, feminist art history has taught us that artist-women have consistently and deliberately been neglected from the history of art and its sites of display: museums, galleries, institutions. Moreover, Genzken was married to Gerhard Richter (from 1982 to 1994), making her susceptible to all the associated trappings that being the “wife-of” a more successful artist inevitably presents.

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The ways in which Genzken attempted to overcome these conditions early on have also been widely acknowledged: she adopted exclusively male mentors, adhered to the central artistic currents of the day—responding to Minimalism and conceptual art—and created her sculptures in a manner that would not be perceived as gendered. Graw suggests that this implies an adaptive mimesis, or a conformity that offers access. More critically, perhaps, given the burgeoning feminist movement that was also occurring in this period, Graw wrote that, in her early years, “the manner of Genzken’s self-presentation as an artist reveals that she was trying to disengage art from the social position defined by the word ‘wom- an.’” These strategies were clearly successful—one of her first exhibitions was at the hugely influential Konrad Fischer Galerie in 1976, whose program included few artist-women, with Genzken as a notable exception.

If, however, Genzken had previously deliberately avoided placing her identity as a woman in relation to her art, something clearly shifts in the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. A number of portraits of the artist appear across her exhibition invitations, and her identity is laid bare. For her 1992 exhibition “More Light Research” at Daniel Buchholz, Cologne, Genzken is shown sitting on a chair, smoking—she gazes directly at the camera—a clear assertion of self. An invitation from 1991, for an exhibition at Galerie Jürgen Becker, Hamburg, takes a photograph of Genzken in the doorway to what appears to be her studio. She is smiling, friendly, inviting. The image chosen for her exhibition at the Renaissance Society, Chicago (1992), shows Genzken in a “domestic” setting—she is sitting on a sofa, her legs stretched out and resting on the table in front, holding a glass of champagne. Her expression is almost blank, even tired. The traces of a party are evident in the wine glasses and champagne bottle also in the frame.

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The use of the portrait among these invitations also relates to the artist’s engagement with the notion of autobiography. Posed photographs of Genzken have repeatedly appeared in her work. They are prominently and often humorously placed—two particularly great examples are Spielautomat (1999)—a slot machine that is covered with photographs of buildings, airplanes, cityscapes, portraits of artists such as Andy Warhol and Lawrence Weiner, several images of the Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio, and a portrait of Genzken herself placed pointedly on the top—and Untitled (2012), from the Schauspieler series, where a child mannequin dressed in a raincoat, which has been embellished with coins and paint, wears a strange mask, and has its head covered with a plastic bag—once again a photograph of Genzken is nonchalantly affixed to its head. I would speculate, however, that the portraits’ appearance on these early 1990s exhibition invitations are some of her first experiments in this direction. I read these as gestures toward empowerment—a shedding of initial dependencies on a disavowal of her female identity or on the male masters with which she had surrounded herself. She begins, as Koether has aptly described, to own her “own bareness.” She literally appears naked, albeit with her back to the camera, in an invitation for a show at Buchholz in 1994.

As an aside, it is interesting to consider this shift relative to Genzken’s relationship with Daniel Buchholz, with whom she has worked since 1987. Buchholz was younger than Genzken, and his program mainly included artists from the new generation emerging in Cologne in the 1990s. As a result, it presented Genzken with the opportunity to assume the role of the elder. It was here, for example, that she began her friendship with the younger Wolfgang Tillmans, who would become the author of many images of the artist.

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Genzken is something of a consciously enigmatic figure, and just as her work cannot be contained within one style, her identity is likewise unfixed. It therefore follows that her approach to the revelations inherent in autobiography would be somewhat controlled. These images could be seen to intentionally present different versions of the artist and, as such, disclose Genzken playing with the development of an artistic persona. Perhaps taking her cues from Joseph Beuys (whom she admired), she was toying with the idea of the cult of the artist. The images could therefore be cultivations of personalities, or even fictions. As the novelist Colm Toibin once remarked of Genzken’s almost mercurial persona, “It is as though she wakes up every morning, or every month or so, and decides who she will become.” Whether or not this is true, it is clear that these invitations mark a moment of growing confidence in the artist and one where she begins to firmly place herself—whoever she wants this to be—at the center of her work. This refusal to be assigned—which in her artworks manifests as formal breaks—is also considered by Graw as a further strategy by the artist to push against the biases that artist-women relentlessly face in a system that works against them.

Taking the idea of identity shifts to vertiginous heights, Genzken had an exhibition deftly titled “Mona Isa” at Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris, in 2010. The invitation, which is a detail from a larger work in the show, blends together images of the artist with Caravaggio’s Medusa (c. 1596–1598). Other works incorporated reproductions of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (c. 1503–1519) or a self-portrait of Albrecht Dürer (1498), overlaid with photographs of Genzken to create bizarre hybrids. Genzken’s fascination with the Mona Lisa lies in its ambiguity—she has stated that she understands it as a disguised self-portrait of da Vinci. The appeal that this shift of identities brings about is palpable. This invitation, and the exhibition it presents, bares Genzken’s ambition to not only be among the important artists of the 20th and 21st centuries but also inscribe herself quite literally into the wider art historical canon. Looking back at the Buchholz invitation from 1994—where Genzken is shown naked from behind, with her head turned to her right-hand side, looking downwards—I cannot help but think of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ La baigneuse, dite Baigneuse de Valpinçon (1808) or its photographic homage by Man Ray, Le Violon d'Ingres (1924). By becoming the “bather,” Genzken assumes the role of the muse/model/subject, and yet she is also the architect behind the image. This slippage between model and artist, author and subject has been an ongoing concern of Genzken’s since she began to include her own portrait in her artworks, but it took a decidedly more pointed turn around the time of the “Mona Isa” exhibition. The 1994 invitation predates this exhibition by over 15 years, and yet it uncovers how these ideas have always been present in the artist’s perspica- cious mind, yet abstrusely placed in invitation cards.

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Visitors to Genzken’s 2013 retrospective at MoMA, New York, were wel- comed by oversized reproductions of invitations, posters, and catalog covers from the artist’s previous exhibitions, configured on the walls in non-chronological order. The use of such archival material at the entrance to major exhibitions is well-trodden museological territory, but this felt markedly different. Here, Genzken placed a number of her most recent sculptural works—from the Schauspieler series (2012–2018), commercial mannequins adorned with eccentric clothing which often belong to Genzken, masks, and objects such as a harp or a hula-hoop— directly in front of the images, creating a larger installation. As the past coalesced with the present, this gesture created a temporal and spatial collapse. The repro- duced exhibition invitations became artistic material, no longer simply archival but newly activated and part of the artwork itself. This brought a decades-long career into sharp focus through one commanding artistic gesture. Was this a means for the artist to pointedly display her worth to the institution? "This is everything you’ve missed so far; thank you for finally noticing.” By 2013, Genzken had achieved prominence in her native Germany and was becoming increasingly well-known across the rest of Europe. Just prior to the MoMA show, the Guardian newspaper had dubbed her “an artist’s artist,” which, while definitely providing its own brand of kudos, is still far from the admittance to the canon that Genzken had seemingly pursued since the start of her career. A major exhibition at MoMA—the pantheon of modern and contemporary art—and all the recognition that this provides would undoubtedly change this. Indeed, in the lead-up to the show Genzken supposedly said to a friend, “I’m just getting more and more famous.”

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Isa Genzken (b. 1948, Germany) is one of the most important and influential post-war German artists. The exhibition “Isa Genzken: 75/75” is on view at the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, until 27 November.
Kyla McDonald is a curator and art historian based in Berlin, who has previously held curatorial roles at Bonner Kunstverein, Glasgow Sculpture Studios, Tate Modern, and Tate Liverpool.