The work of Dusseldorf-based artist Katharina Grosse presses against or explodes the confines of the painterly tradition. Engaging a range of surfaces, including aluminum, canvas, paper, and existing architectural elements, Grosse’s site-specific abstract paintings are executed in a manner that emphasizes color over brushwork, movement over stasis, and transience over permanence. Although often indoor works, her sprayed wall paintings are not restricted to gallery spaces-corridors and stairwells and other through spaces are used to constrain and direct the viewer both physically and visually through the work.
Born in Freiburg/Breisgau in 1961, Grosse studied with Gotthard Graubner at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf. Works by Gerhard Richter and Nam June Paik were early influences. She currently teaches at the Kunstakademie, even though several years ago she relocated to Berlin. She now lives and works much of the time in a striking Bauhaus-style home and studio in Berlin’s old city center that she commissioned from architects Ute Frank and Georg Augustin.
Her early paintings, from the late 1980s and early ’90s, are spare gestural compositions that at times recall Mark Rothko’s work or, more closely, the Zenlike, brushy late abstractions of Hans Hartung. Attracted to shaped canvases and unconventional materials, Grosse experimented with unusual painting supports ranging from found objects to a lightweight resin material used for surfboards. In some sense her work is akin to postwar movements such as the French Supports/Surfaces, in its approach to abstract-painting-as-object, as well as Arte Povera, in its use of abject materials.
Grosse’s art blossomed and her career took off when, in 1998, she began adding passages of spray paint onto canvases and directly onto gallery walls. Growing increasingly bold and elaborate over the past decade, Grosse’s large-scale installations, which she has been invited to produce in many parts of the world, have brought her significant notice. Her first in the U.S., at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, in 2001, was widely praised in the art press, as were subsequent exhibitions at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2006), and the Renaissance Society in Chicago (2007).
just two of us’ is the latest installation by german artist katharina grosse for metrotech commons in downtown brooklyn, new york. the immersive sculpture transforms the existing park plaza into an engaging architectural landscape, characterized by towering, vibrantly-colored forms piercing the earth. eighteen fiberglass-coated shapes have been configured around trees, creating two large irregular formations within the existing environment. the neon-chroma serves as a manifestation of the cultural dynamism of the eclectic, multi-cultural neighborhood and reconfigures the urban space into an striking sculptural intervention. ’just two of us’ is presented by the public art fund whose focus is on art in the public sphere. the artwork, and it’s relationship to the space is iterated by nicholas baume, public art fund director & chief curator: ‘katharina grosse’s hybrid approach to painting and sculpture feels very natural in the context of a public space at the center of a thriving urban area where culture, technology, and innovation intersect.’
“I Think This Is a Pine Tree” is on display at the Hamburger Banhof Museum of Contemporary Art in Berlin through August 2014.
“Just two of us”, Metrotech Commons, Downtown Brooklyn, now through september 14th, 2014.
- via www.katharinagrosse.com