press release

CINCINNATI, OH—Contemporary Arts Center welcomes German painter Katharina Grosse, who will use her spray paint gun to transform the CAC’s famous public lobby, Kaplan Hall, into a vibrant, swirling colorscape. The CAC celebrates Grosse’s color installation with an opening party Friday, October 27 from 6 - 9 pm featuring Louisville-based post-rock band Parlour. Grosse will discuss her work and the installation. The opening party is FREE and open to the public.

Grosse’s boundary-bending color explosions have turned international architectural sites into brilliantly blended canvases – from Seoul to Sydney to Toronto to Houston – and Cincinnati is next.

“Expect a mass of high-keyed color spreading across the walls… like psychedelic clouds and likely as not the strong scent of spray paint: Katharina Grosse is in town,” writes art critic Martin Herbert. Grosse is in town – she’ll be here the week of October 20-27 installing her work in CAC’s publicly visible, glass-enclosed Kaplan Hall.

“We are very excited about Katharina’s project for Kaplan Hall,” says Maiza Hixson, curator of Grosse’s installation. “She is transforming the space from lobby to ethereal landscape, bringing natural elements inside and expanding our ideas of what painting and sculpture can be.”

Grosse’s abstract work shows a joyous irreverence for the hierarchies of architecture and of museums. Her aggressive color transgresses boundaries between walls, floors and windows with exultant audacity and a delightful disregard for conventional spaces.

At the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art at 6th and Walnut, Grosse’s color installation will burst up against the street-view windows and flow over the slanted staircase to the performance space below, obliterating the boundaries between street level and underground. Grosse will build an earthen mound in the southeastern corner of the space, and then transform this organic material with artificial color.

In an interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist, curator of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Grosse discussed her approach to site-specific paint installations. “Architecture is involved (in my work) inasmuch as it is the condition under which a work emerges. Painting incorporates a space in this condition that is fictional, an illusionist place. One of the essential things about working on site is that you have a certain length of time in which to produce the work, and this is an inescapable given. Time then becomes a kind of material: I have X number of days, and that makes time just as concrete as the amount of paint or the size of the surface.”

Katharina Grosse’s other-worldly installation continues through May 6, 2007 at the Contemporary Arts Center.

Katharina Grosse discusses about her work, and Louisville-based post-rock band Parlour performs to celebrate the opening of the installation. Using a spray gun to mix and layer colors on the walls, floors, windows, ceilings and sometimes the contents of buildings, Berlin-based artist Katharina Grosse blurs the boundaries between walls and canvases while traversing barriers between art and life. Often on a grand scale in large public places, her vibrant, colorful works also achieve moments of intimacy and quiet reflection. The CAC's street-level Kaplan Hall will be the next site for Grosse's ongoing investigation into painting on and within an architectural setting. Directly responding to the unique architecture and highly visible nature of Kaplan Hall, Grosse will transform the space into a swirling, soft-edged wash of colors and painted objects. Grosse has completed numerous installations around the world in museums and other public environments including Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Contemporary Arts Museum (Houston), Magasin 3 (Stockholm), White Cube (London), UCLA Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), and the Toronto Airport.

About Katharina Grosse Since the 1990s, Katharina Grosse (b. Freiburg, 1961) has built up a repertoire consisting of large painted canvasses and bright acrylic colors sprayed onto both interior and exterior walls, ceilings and floors. It is a way of working related to Colour Field Painting and Abstract Expressionism, between Impressionism and graffiti, performance, process and installation art. She investigates the limits of painting by using different concepts belonging to contemporary and traditional artistic expression, in which making and presenting paintings continues to occupy an important place. Katharina Grosse’s radical approach to painting is in a constant state of evolution. Departing from her earlier work, the site-specific paintings tend to transform everything in their path which might include articles of fabric, books, completely furnished domestic settings, and large canvases propped against walls and most recently painted sculptural installations. The function of these objects become neutralized as the painting moves rhythmically from room to room, organically expanding to invest doors, ceilings, and windows.

Her recent museum projects include installations at the De Appel in Amsterdam and the Nationalgalerie in Berlin, following projects in such buildings as UCLA, Los Angeles; The White Cube, London; Magasin 3, Stockholm and Palais de Tokyo, Paris, and public spaces like Toronto Airport, Canada. In 2003, Grosse transformed the outside walls of the Berlinische Galerie into a gigantic abstract painting. Grosse’s complete CV is available upon request.


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Katharina Grosse