press release

In her first solo exhibition at Galería Helga de Alvear, Katharina Grosse (1961, Freiburg) presents “Faux Rocks“, a project challenging our expectations of the relationship between painting, support and space.

In 1998, Grosse began to spay paint directly on the wall. Layers of paint build up and coalesce while the architectural structure remains intact. Profound changes in perspective and scale occur as a consequence and create a constantly shifting environment. Corners and edges are left where they were, demarcating a space that the paint strives to dematerialize. With her action, the artist alters the environment while the latter affects and disorients the spectator.

These actions call for a well-crafted working system: while the paint compressor allows for the execution of long marks and violent and expressive movements, the necessary physical protection brings with it a certain physical distancing in relation with the work. Over the last four years, Grosse has incorporated real objects like books, beds, or heaps of clothes to these scenarios. In this way, she is radically expanding the terms of her encounter with colour and space. More recent works also include less definite materials such as heaps of earth or rocks, thus allowing for new visualisations of volume.

For her exhibition at Helga de Alvear, Grosse fills the room with a huge structure in the shape of stones, apparently floating in the space as if they had landed there in a light and gigantic version of smooth river rocks. In turn, they function like a large inflated canvas that moves the paint on its surface through the air. The artist’s idea is to provide a new visualisation of volume through colour.

In the second room, a comprehensive collection of drawings showcases Katharina Grosse’s work on a traditional support, evidencing the way in which colour and the artist’s gesture and expressiveness have moved from wall to paper.

In 2000, she was chosen for the prestigious Hamburguer Bahnhof Award for young artists. She has recently exhibited her work at the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, and the De Appel Centre of Amsterdam.


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Katharina Grosse