Photography At the office with Isabelle Wenzel

At the office with Isabelle Wenzel

Giorgia Massari
Isabelle Wenzel |

In just ten seconds, German photographer Isabelle Wenzel assumes a premeditated, contorted pose and waits for the camera to shoot. Wenzel’s production consists entirely of self-shots, in which the artist uses her own body as a research tool. The human figure here loses its materiality as a living organism and becomes rather an inanimate form, focusing on the statuesque aspect. In particular, Isabelle Wenzel investigates the corporeal dimension in the working environment, turning reality upside down. Positions are totally surreal and unusual. Even elements – such as paper documents, folders and corded telephones – are placed chaotically in space, evoking a sense of discomfort that, in some ways, manifests an underlying psychological unease. Often these elements are placed in relation to the body, weighing down on it or becoming an obstacle. In this way, the superiority of the object, which commands the body’s gait, is evident. Her works invite the viewer to reflect on the unnatural and forced way in which the body inhabits office space, not only through the photographs but also with the support of the set-up that Wenzel designs for each exhibition.

Isabelle Wenzel’s photographs and acrobatics are often translated into performances, which she stages during the openings of her exhibitions, such as the one a few weeks ago during the opening of Best, Isabelle exhibition (open until 15 September) in the new spaces of C41 Gallery in Milan. Here the artist, with a leaf shooter in her hand, locks herself inside a glassed-in room full of documents, then activates the machinery and generates induced chaos.
The Milanese exhibition is part of the BiM (Bicocca meets Milan) programme, which focuses on a cultural redevelopment of the neighbourhood. Here the artist focuses on one element in particular, the ergonomic chair, asking “What does an ergonomic chair tell us about our bodies and the time they inhabit?“.

Isabelle Wenzel |

Ph Credits set-up Marcello Maranzan

Written by Giorgia Massari
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