A painting is simply a screen between the producer and the spectator where both can look at the thought processes residing on the screen from different angles and points in time. It enables me to look at the residue of my thinking.
Widely known for her in situ paintings, in which explosive color is sprayed directly onto architecture, interiors, and landscapes, Katharina Grosse embraces the events and incidents that arise as she works, opening up surfaces and spaces to the countless perceptual possibilities of the medium. Approaching painting as an experience in immersive subjectivity, she uses a spray gun, distancing the artistic act from the hand, and stylizing gesture as a propulsive mark.
Born in Freiberg im Breisgau, Germany, Grosse began painting at an early age, always attuned to the ways that color and light merged with thought itself. In her works on canvas from the 1990s, she juxtaposed colors of various densities and temperatures, repeating vertical, transparent brushstrokes. These led to related works painted directly onto the wall, where she lined hallways and staircases in sublime fields of artificial color. Introducing the spray gun as a painting tool, she began to paint across architectural interiors and exteriors. She produced her first work, a monochrome, using this technique at the Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland, in 1998, spray painting the upper corner of a gallery in a deep green that spread partially down two adjacent walls and onto the ceiling. In 2000 Grosse became a professor at the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee; and she taught the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf from 2010–2018.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Grosse combined the intersecting streaks of previous works with the cloud-like forms and mists made possible by the spray gun. The in situ paintings expanded in scale as she explored the liquidity and vast reach of the medium. In 2004, at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, she sprayed the gallery interior along with clothing, papers, eggs, and coins scattered across the floor; and in 2005, at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, she hung two huge canvases on the wall: one already painted, and one blank. She painted the latter on site, as well as the wall on which it hung. She then took down the painted canvas and leaned it against the wall on the floor, leaving a blank white rectangle.
For Grosse, there are no distinctions between painting, sculpture, and architecture. In addition to painting on canvases and over found materials like buildings and trees she also creates large polyurethane, Styrofoam, and cast-metal sculptures that act as abstract armatures for her paintings. Her in situ painting Untitled Trumpet was included in the Biennale di Venezia, in 2015, and Museum Wiesbaden, Germany, presented a major survey of her works on paper that same year. In 2016, adding to a sequence of significant public commissions in the US, she created a work for MoMA PS1’s Rockaway! series at Fort Tilden in the Rockaways, New York, transforming a derelict aquatics center with sprays of red, white, and magenta. The following year, Gagosian presented Grosse’s first solo exhibition in New York, featuring major works from several interconnected suites of paintings, and one cast-metal sculpture. In these canvases, monadic forms migrate from one painting to another, appearing in new layers or fusing into clusters that advance and retreat. The paintings record Grosse’s ongoing reflections on color, density, and velocity, as well as her use of stencils applied directly to the surface throughout the painting process.
In her most recent site-responsive paintings, Grosse has incorporated lengths of painted fabric, draped from the ceiling and spilling onto the floor, thus adding even more dimensionality to her immersive paintings. The Horse Trotted Another Couple of Metres, Then It Stopped (2018) for Carriageworks, Sydney, was comprised of more than 27,000 square feet of suspended fabric, draped, knotted and folded across and through the nineteenth century industrial architecture of the building. In Wunderbild (2018), for the National Gallery in Prague, Grosse produced an imposing enfilade of paintings on loose cloth, draped from the walls on two sides. Painted on the floor of her Berlin studio, Wunderbild creates a bridge between Grosse’s studio canvases and in situ paintings, and its aqueous fields of color are punctuated by white palimpsests of negative space. This development continued in Prototypes of Imagination, Gagosian Britannia Street (2018), in which an entire wall of the gallery was covered by a sheet of painted fabric, asserting new spatial and temporal transformations.
David Reed and Katharina Grosse met at Reed’s New York studio in the fall of 2019 to talk about his newest paintings, the temporal aspects of both artists’ practice, and some of their mutual inspirations.
Katharina Grosse: The Movement Comes from Outside
Katharina Grosse discusses her exhibition Is It You? at the Baltimore Museum of Art with Jona Lueddeckens. They consider what sets the Baltimore installation apart from its predecessors, and how Grosse sees the relationship of the human body to her immersive environments as opposed to her canvases.
Katharina Grosse: I see what she did there
On the occasion of the artist’s exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Terry R. Myers muses on the manipulations of time in Grosse’s work.
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2020
The Summer 2020 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Joan Jonas’s Mirror Piece 1 (1969) on its cover.
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2020
The Spring 2020 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #412 (2003) on its cover.
Katharina Grosse: Mumbling Mud
We take a visual tour through Katharina Grosse’s Mumbling Mud and the installation process behind it as the artist discusses the effects of the work’s merging of built and painted space.
Trouvé and Grosse: Villa Medici
Tatiana Trouvé and Katharina Grosse discuss their exhibition Le numerose irregolarità, at the French Academy in Rome, Villa Medici, with curator Chiara Parisi.
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2018
The Spring 2018 Gagosian Quarterly with a cover by Ed Ruscha is now available for order.
Katharina Grosse at Carriageworks
On the occasion of Katharina Grosse’s latest in situ painting The Horse Trotted Another Couple of Metres, Then It Stopped, at Carriageworks, Sydney, a series of video interviews with the artist was created.
Katharina Grosse reflects on the work of Cy Twombly.
An interview between Katharina Grosse and Louise Neri. The two discuss Grosse’s process and examine the countless perceptual possibilities of her medium.
Katharina Grosse and Alexander Kluge
with Joachim Bernauer and Julia Draganović
Tuesday, November 24, 2020, 1pm EST (7pm CET)
Katharina Grosse will speak with writer, theorist, and filmmaker Alexander Kluge about his writings on Leibniz’s theory of the “separatrix” and its key impact on her new body of watercolors and paintings on canvas, on view at Gagosian, Rome, through January 7. The conversation will be moderated by special guests Joachim Bernauer, director of Goethe-Institut Italien, and Julia Draganović, director of Accademia Tedesca Roma Villa Massimo, Rome. For this online discussion, Bernauer and Draganović will be speaking live from the gallery while Grosse and Kluge will join remotely. To join, complete this form.
Still from Alexander Kluge’s film Separatrix (2020), featuring Katharina Grosse’s painting Untitled (2019)
Artist Plate Project
Coalition for the Homeless
November 16–December 14, 2020
Gagosian is pleased to support the Coalition for the Homeless’s Artist Plate Project fundraiser. Artwork by fifty artists, including Cecily Brown, Katharina Grosse, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Sarah Sze, Andy Warhol, Jonas Wood, and Christopher Wool, is featured on limited-edition dinner plates produced by Prospect and made available through Artware Editions to support the Coalition’s lifesaving programs. All of the funds raised by the sale of the plates will provide food, crisis services, housing, and other critical aid to thousands of people experiencing homelessness and instability. The purchase of one plate can feed seventy-five homeless and hungry New Yorkers.
Katharina Grosse, Shake Before Using, 2020 © Katharina Grosse and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany 2020
Tuesday, November 10, 2020, 1pm EST (7pm CET)
Katharina Grosse will speak with Bartolomeo Pietromarchi, director of Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo (MAXXI) in Rome, as part of the museum’s Conversazioni d’autore series. The pair will discuss her artistic practice, including such works as Ingres Wood Seven (2018) in the MAXXI collection, as well as her latest paintings and works on paper on view in Separatrix at Gagosian, Rome, through January 7. The event is organized in collaboration with Gagosian; Accademia Tedesca Roma Villa Massimo, Rome; and Goethe-Institut, Rome. To watch the live conversation, visit MAXXI’s Facebook.
Photo: Robert Schittko, Art/Beats
Is It You?
Through January 3, 2021
Baltimore Museum of Art
For this exhibition Katharina Grosse presents five recent paintings and a new site-related environment. The central gallery is transformed with an expansive, immersive fabric installation that is partially suspended from the ceiling, creating a cloth “room” with vibrantly painted undulating walls.
Installation view, Katharina Grosse: Is It You?, Baltimore Museum of Art, March 1–June 28, 2020. Artwork © Katharina Grosse and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020. Photo: Mitro Hood, courtesy Baltimore Museum of Art
It Wasn’t Us
Through January 10, 2021
Hamburger Bahnhof–Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin
Katharina Grosse will use the historical hall of the Hamburger Bahnhof and the outdoor area behind the building as the site for a new work that radically destabilizes and renegotiates the existing order of the space of the museum. Incorporating the floor of the hall and Styrofoam sculptural elements as a pictorial ground, her painting will extend beyond the building’s walls and into public space, inviting us to reconsider our habits of seeing, thinking, and perceiving.
Katharina Grosse, I Think This Is a Pine Tree, 2013, installation view, Hamburger Bahnhof–Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin © Katharina Grosse and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020. Photo: Thomas Bruns
Katharina Grosse in
Collezione MAXXI. Lo spazio dell’immagine
Opened November 21, 2018
Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome
The spirit and the identity of the museum are being renewed with a display of more than thirty works by twenty-six artists. Dedicated to the museum’s new acquisitions, this group show aims to create a counterpoint between the abstract and the figurative. Work by Katharina Grosse is included.
Katharina Grosse, Ingres Wood Seven, 2017 © Katharina Grosse and VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2019 Photo: Jens Ziehe
Katharina Grosse in
Push the Limits
Opened September 7, 2020
Fondazione Merz, Turin, Italy
Push the Limits is an exhibition that investigates how art probes cultural, geographical, sexual, social, and visual limits to expand horizons of thinking, perception, and speech. Each work on display is a push forward in a space where current codes of behavior are suspended and transformation becomes possible. Work by Katharina Grosse is included.
Katharina Grosse, The Horse Trotted a Little Bit Further, 2020, installation view, Fondazione Merz, Turin, Italy. Artwork © Katharina Grosse and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany 2020. Photo: courtesy Fondazione Merz