There is no boundary between reality and imagination. To imagine is to realize. My pictures are prototypes of this recognition; they try out—and dramatically compress—the characteristics of reality. I build prototypes of the imagination so that they can be reenacted and applied to other fields of endeavor.
Widely known for her spectacular in situ paintings, in which explosive color is rendered directly onto architecture, interiors, and landscapes, 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.
In Prototypes of Imagination, Grosse reveals the ways in which painting catalyzes the unfolding of multiple dimensions on a single surface. Following Wunderbild, the imposing processional installation at the National Gallery in Prague, at the center of the exhibition is a single painting of oceanic scale on loose cloth. Working on huge expanses of flat cloth enables Grosse to execute very large-scale works in the studio in response to specific architectural conditions beyond it, in this case the Britannia Street gallery. This new approach creates a bridge between the studio canvases and the in situ paintings that she has been making over the last decade. In this abstract phantasmagoria, with its aqueous layers of vibrant, pulsating color, Grosse’s painterly gestures, and the inverted chromatic zones arising from her use of stencils of vaguely biomorphic form, assert entirely new spatial and temporal transformations.
Grosse continues this approach in works on stretched canvas, many of which contain rectangular fields that slide and tessellate like the windows and tabs of a browser, or dissolve into each other, creating ghostly organic silhouettes. Spatial tensions rise through shifts in chromatic temperature, and with stencils, folds, and other tools she allows for new patterns to emerge. Using stencils to either filter or completely block out areas of negative space, she creates opaque fields to be interrupted by solid geometries and ambiguous transparencies. The result sometimes recalls photograms wherein individual objects are placed on photosensitive paper to produce images using light alone. Here, paint replaces light, as Grosse saturates the exposed fabric with blazing, spectral mists. Each composition bears intimate traces of its creation, such as the smudges of paint where a stencil has been removed, or showers of drips suddenly severed in their resistance to gravitational pull. Surpassing the limits of pictorial logic, Grosse’s paintings are paradigms of vision; just as forms seem to materialize, their edges effervesce, pulling the viewer into their kaleidoscopic force field.
An extensive monograph on Grosse’s recent work, published by Gagosian and with contributions by Dan Cameron, Okwui Enwezor, Isabelle Graw, and Louise Neri, will be available at the time of the exhibition.
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.