Works by Florian Genzken
Text by Lisa Genzken
The Signature Collection (Clouds) oil on canvas, 130 x 90cm, 2021

I

There is no such thing as untouched, pristine nature – we have changed the courses of rivers, made hills by piling up trash and letting grass grow over them, chopped down forests and planted new ones. We can make it rain and have lions jump through hoops. Our surroundings are designed. We have taken it so far that we now endeavour to renature “nature”, to design it back. But back to what?

Sketches for sights on land(-scape)

II

Studies show that most US-Americans consider themselves as part of nature. At the same time, they conceive natural environments as spaces absent from any human interference. If both assumptions were true, a tree planted by a human would be unnatural.

Snow White (mirrorscan013) digital print, 42 x 30cm, Edition of 25, 2021
Snow White (mirrorscan011) digital print, 21 x 15cm, Edition of 2, 2020

III

A footprint is the remnant of a completed human action, an “I was here”, a signature, if you will. Hair in the drain, fingerprints on a gun, plastic bags on the beach, lipstick marks on a glass, the echo of a voice: all evidence of manipulations of the goings-on of the world-minus-human, traces we leave wherever we go, whatever we do. There is no place to hide for the non-human world. Everything has been touched before, the world is second-hand.

The Signature Collection (Birds) oil on canvas, 60 x 45cm, 2021

IV

A signature gains its significance in relation to the thing it is written on. Signing a contract means “I, [name], am okay with this”, signing a birthday card tells the recipient who the congratulator is, signing a painting means “I, [name], made this”. What does it mean to piss your name in the snow, to sign the snow?

Untitled oil on canvas, 90 x 130cm, 2021

V

Are virgin territories merely products of fiction, cleverly sold to attract tourists? Is “nature” a human invention? If no one was there to describe it, to see it, to destroy it, to protect it, would it even exist? Is a landscape without humans in it necessarily an imagined one? Gender, money, borders; all social constructs. But nature? Outrageous!

The Signature Collection (Snow Pile Night Piss) oil on canvas, 100 x 80cm, 2021
The Signature Collection (Cold Smoke) oil on canvas, 68 x 68cm, 2021

About:
Florian Genzken is an artist living in Vienna.
See more of his work on Instagram (@floriangenzken) or contact him at (flo.genzken@gmx.de).
Lisa Genzken is living in Berlin, find more of her writing in renk magazine.

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