Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin
Katharina Grosse’s paintings can appear anywhere. Her large-scale works are multidimensional visual spaces in which walls, ceilings, objects and entire buildings and landscapes are covered with bright colours. For the exhibition It Wasn’t Us the artist has transformed the historical hall of Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin and the outdoor area behind the building into an expansive image that radically destabilises the existing order of museum space.
As a pictorial ground for her work the artist has used the floor of the hall along with Styrofoam elements she designed for the exhibition, shaping and scaling them to their ultimate dimensions in several work stages. In addition, the painting stretches beyond the building proper and into public space, to the extensive grounds behind the museum and onto the façade of the Rieckhallen galleries. It Wasn’t Us connects neither interior with exterior nor the museum with its surroundings – or culture with nature – instead moving us to reconsider our habits of seeing, thinking and perceiving.
Grosse’s painting transcends boundaries with colour and overwrites boundary zones with new correlations. What was there before doesn’t disappear, but remains visible as a trace of something past, now devoid of meaning. In the process fantastic structures develop. Our imagination flourishes in the spaces that open up. The artist leads us in many directions, firmly yet playfully.
From the catalogue text Das Gegebene und das Mögliche by Julia Eckert
The artist Katharina Grosse (b. 1961, Freiburg im Breisgau) has had numerous solo exhibitions over the past twenty years, for example in 2015 at the Museum Wiesbaden, in 2018 at the The National Gallery Prague, at the Villa Medici in Rome, at Carriageworks in Sydney and at the chi K11 art museum in Shanghai, and in 2019 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where a new work was displayed in dialogue with Jackson Pollock’s Mural (1943). She has repeatedly realised works in public spaces, for instance in 2016 for the MoMA PS1 as part of the Rockaway program at Fort Tilden, New York. Since 1998 her contributions have been shown at biennials and triennials in Sydney (1998), São Paulo (2002), New Orleans (2008), Curitiba (2013), Venice (2015) and Aarhus (2017), as well as in many other group exhibitions. In 2015 Grosse was invited to create a site-specific painting in the assembly hall of the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus of the German Parliament. From 2000 to 2010 she held a professorship for painting at the Weißensee Kunsthochschule in Berlin, and from 2010 to 2018 she was a professor at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf.
The publication accompanying the exhibition is from the Hatje Cantz Verlag, with a foreword by Udo Kittelmann and Gabriele Knapstein and texts by Julia Eckert, Doris Kolesch, Martina Löw, Daniel Milnes and Heather I. Sullivan.
The exhibition is made possible by the Freunde der Nationalgalerie and supported by Volkswagen.
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