Contemporary Art

Katharina Grosse /   Katharina Grosse

Germany 1961

Installation, Abstract Art, Painting

Katharina Grosse
Katharina Grosse
February 18, 2017
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

Katharina Grosse is a German painter, whose wall size paintings and even bigger installations made of seemingly incompatible materials and surfaces, are known around the world. She uses architecture and nature as the basis of her compositions, to whom she adds her imagination. Her unconventional approach is everything but traditional, leaving the impression of something abstract, or even psychedelic. Intertwined layers of expressive colors, canvas and other striking components used by Katharina, represent material records of the making process, and authors interconnection with the piece. Painting is both limitless and timeless, it challenges and triggers curiosity of the spectators.

Katharina Grosse - Untitled works, 2015, Garage of Museum of Contemporary Art, Gagosian untitled acrylic contact the artist
Katharina Grosse – Yes No Why Later, 2015, Garage of Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia – photo credits of the artist

Life and Professional Decisions

Katharina Grosse was born in Freiburg in 1961, Germany. It was in her early 20’s when without any clear directions, she discovered painting. She dedicated almost a year practicing brush techniques, before starting her studies at the famous Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where she currently teaches. There she met Johannes Brus and Gotthard Graubner who were very influential on her. From 2000-2010 she worked as a professor at the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee. After graduation in 1990, she kept exploring different styles, before finding herself in abstraction. By applying diverse tonality of colors and paint, and changing a variety of tools and combinations of textures, Grosse investigates the psychological impact her pieces can have on the viewers. Her pictures are experimental, and perfect medium for structures and processes that usually don’t go together, or even exclude each other. Hence, they are able to provide all the visual aspects that catch people’s attention. Grosse’s art is full of improvisation, consists a note of sexuality and seems as if she is playing while working.

Grosse investigates the psychological impact her pieces can have on the viewers

Katharina Grosse - wall news, exhibition use of untitled sculpture in gallery Brooklyn works, Katharina Grosse und VG Biltd-Kunst, Bonn
Katharina Grosse – Just Two Of Us, 2013, Acrylic on glass fiber reinforced plastic, Installation view: Brooklyn, New York, Katharina Grosse und VG Biltd-Kunst, Bonn – photo by James Ewing

Spray-Guns and Installations

The desire for more intensive, unlimited, vast and spacious painting led the artist to spray gun. She immediately benefited from it, as it expanded her body’s reach and made it easier for her to move on uneven surfaces. It was in 2004 when Katharina made a shift in her artwork by putting paint all around her. Acrylic colors which the author puts on objects that surround her like doors, hallways, walls, are the best proof of strong accent she gives to time and space. She replaced brushes for brooms, canvas for floors and windows, closed galleries for open rooms. Katharina doesn’t let her imaginations and projections to be controlled by anything, certainly not the limited scope. The only difference between the work in the studio and outside is time, the latter is done in a much more intensive and productive way. Regardless of the approaches and specifics that were used to produce each piece, they all have one thing in common, and that is the reflection of the artist thoughts and her view on the world. For Grosse, installations make mutually exclusive systems coexist.

She replaced brushes for brooms, canvas for floors and windows, closed galleries for open rooms

Katharina Grosse - news color works on specific exhibition sculpture use on gallery wall in Rockaway, 2015
Katharina Grosse – Rockaway, New York, 2015 – photo by Pablo Enriquez

Remarcable Exhibitions from Beaches to Galleries

Grosse’s impressive and large-scale work has taken galleries and site-specific installations around the world. In 2013 after the devastating Hurricane Sabrina, she used a palette of red, orange, and white color to paint an abandoned building that was a part of the ex-army base. This combination extended from interior walls and windows to roof and sand that surrounds it, blending it with clouds and creating an art installation. The show was located on the Rockaway Point Peninsula in New York. This idea was a result of the previous experience, when the artist did a similar thing with an abandoned house, destroyed during the Hurricane Kathrine in New Orleans in 2005. Her exquisite work provided her solo and group exhibitions in institutions around the globe. Author’s art appeared at the Arken – Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen in 2009, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland in 2012, at the Sprengel Museum in Hannover, and many more. She was awarded with Oscar Schlemmer Prize in 2014, and Freid-Thieler-Preis, among others. In 2017 people will have an opportunity to see her work at Gagosian Gallery in New York.

Katharina Grosse currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany

Featured image: Katharina Grosse – Portrait – Photo via marcuskö
All images used for illustrative purposes only

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2017Katharina GrosseGagosian Gallery, New York, USASolo
2016Rockaway!MoMA PS1, New York, USASolo
2016Katharina GrosseMuseum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden, GermanySolo
2016Katharina GrosseGarage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, RussiaSolo
2016Papier und InstallationMuseum Viesbaden, Viesbaden, GermanySolo
2015SprayedGagosian Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2015All the World's Futures56th Venice Bienalle, Venice, ItalyGroup
2014Katharina Grosse - Die BallGalerie Mark Müller, ZurichSolo
2014Katharina Grosse - Wer, ich? Wen, Du?Kunsthaus Graz, GrazSolo
2014CYNETART-FestivalSpharen, Cynetart, DresdenGroup
2014New Masters - So FarKunsthaus Dresden, DresdenGroup
2014Levels Of AbstractionGow Langsford Gallery, AucklandGroup
2014Friendly TakeoverMARTa Herford, HerfordGroup
2014Call me on SundayKrinzinger Projekte, ViennaGroup
2014Choices - Works on PaperGalerie Conrads, DusseldorfGroup
2014Colour System SupportGow Langsford Gallery, AucklandGroup
2013Katharina Grosse - PsychopapierJohann Konig, BerlinSolo
2013Katharina Grosse - Just Two of UsPublic Art Fund, New York City, NYSolo
2013Katharina Grosse - WunderblockNasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TXSolo
2013Katharina Grosse - Snakes lie between her and the shoreGalerie nächst St. Stephan - Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, ViennaSolo
2013Katharina Grosse - Two Younger Women Come In And Pull Out A TableDE PONT, Museum of contemporary art, TilburgSolo
2013Wall Works - Hamburger BahnhofMuseum für Gegenwart, BerlinGroup
2013Mushroom HunterThe Journal Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2012Katharina Grosse: Third Man Begins Digging Through Her PocketsMOCA - Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Cleveland, OHSolo
2012Can You Spell MixingDirimart, IstanbulSolo
2012They Had Taken Things Along To Eat TogetherJohann Konig, BerlinSolo
2012Language GamesCentro de Artes Visuales Helga de Alvear, CaceresGroup
2012Inside Out and From the Ground UpMOCA - Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Cleveland, OHGroup
2012The Slide ShowFRAC - Auvergne, Clermont FerrandGroup
2012Dancing towards the EssenceKunsthaus Grenchen, GrenchenGroup
2012The Indiscipline of PaintingMead Gallery - Warwick Arts Centre, CoventryGroup
20111st Biennale of Painting - I am a BerlinerHDLU, Croatian Biennale, ZagrebGroup
2011Berlin 2000-2011: Playing among the RuinsMuseum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT), TokyoGroup
2010Katharina Grosse - one floor up more highlyMassachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art - MASSMoCA, North Adams, MASolo
2010Katharina Grosse - Mr. CaplanChristopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica, CASolo
2010Katharina Grosse - EllipseKunsthalle Düsseldorf, DusseldorfSolo
2009Utopia - Katharina Grosse - Hello Little Butterfly I Love You What’s Your NameARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst, IshojSolo
2009Katharina Grosse - The Greedy IGalerie Mark Müller, ZurichSolo
2009Katharina Grosse – shadowboxTemporare Kunsthalle Berlin, BerlinSolo
2008Katharina Grosse – SKROW NO REPAPFRAC - Auvergne, Clermont FerrandSolo
2007Katharina Grosse - The Flowershow (part 1)FRAC - Auvergne, Clermont FerrandSolo
2007Katharina Grosse I This Is Not My CatGow Langsford Gallery, AucklandSolo
2005Something LeadlightBergen Kunsthall, BergenSolo
2004If music no good I no danceViafarini, MilanSolo
2004Katharina Grosse: Some AtlasGaleria Filomena Soares, LisbonSolo
2004Katharina Grosse - Infinite Logic ConferenceMagasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall, StockholmSolo