Berlin, June 2016
It was with great anticipation that I walked up the stairs of the Martin-Gropius-Bau, the solemn building on the former border between East and West Berlin that hosted Isa Genzken’s exhibition Make Yourself Pretty! As I wandered through the comprehensive collection of the German artist’s sculptures and installations, with their wide-reaching cultural references, I was taken by surprise by a re-encounter with a long-forgotten idol of mine.
The photo of Leonardo DiCaprio, with his slick hairstyle and cute smile, bound up with sticky tape and juxtaposed with bold colours and elements containing the word DUDE, was part of a rich collage unfolding over the many pages of Genzken’s diaristic book Mach Dich Hubsch!
My crush on Leo had manifested itself through the posters, diaries and magazines I bought in the late 1990s, all furnished with his smiling face. My re-encounter with the young movie star stirred up many memories. When facing the image through the glass vitrine, I felt as if I’d been caught red-handed: the work reminded me how I had wholeheartedly worshipped this dandy as a young girl. I didn’t reflect upon the consumerist aspect of this ‘love affair’ at the time. The material culture crept up from behind, as it still does – my identity is unintentionally affected by my acquisition of things.
I left Martin-Gropius-Bau with a new crush that day – not on Leo, but on the eye-opening work I’d just seen.
Jenny Kinge is a curator and co-director of 1857
In our very first issues, we invited different people to write about an image they found memorable, under the headline ’Sinnbilde’, a column inspired by FOAM Magazine. Now, in Objektiv’s 10th year, as the ocean of images continues to swell, we’re reigniting this column online.