With Katharina Grosse’s paintings, the Museum Frieder Burda continues its series of monographic exhibitions of important international artists. In this context, Katharina Grosse, who has been considered one of the leading artists of her generation for many years now, adopts a very striking position. Her painting transcends, explodes and overshadows any kind of surface and turns it into a base on which to paint. In other words, it is directed at every surface in a room – walls, ceiling, floor – as well as the bodies and objects in the room.
In the exhibition at Museum Frieder Burda, Katharina Grosse concentrates on panel paintings, more the classical form of painting, but expands these in size and shape to hitherto unseen dimensions. The painting treatment with which she creates new images is of crucial importance. Through structuring elements such as lines and shading, but also through sprayed paint, her artworks seem to unfold in different ways: sometimes intensely concrete, sometimes blurred and unfocussed. Such pictures make a strong impression on the observer and, at the same time, leave an almost physical mark.
Grosse often leaves behind the limits of what can be rationally described for the sake of a more indirect effect of the paint strokes, the vague, indiscriminate shapes and the unsuspected spaces that emerge in her painting. Thus, the spatial installation “Untitled (Ellipse)“ from 2009 creates its own location, providing a special stage through its spherical, oval shape and the sheer size of the painting. At more than seven metres high and 10 metres wide, the picture easily holds its own against the architecture of the museum.
Placing her painting in the context of Richard Meier’s architecture heightens the contrast between rationalism and Utopia. The limits of the room, in this case, of the “White Cube”, are suspended in favour of a dialogue between the coloured shapes, a dialogue that develops not only in the individual paintings but also between the different paintings. Because in this exhibition, Katharina Grosse is showing works spanning her entire career from the beginning of the 1990s right up to today. The openness of the architecture provides for fascinating perspectives and combinations.
The accompanying catalogue aims to replicate this range and is the first publication to feature more than a 100 prints of her paintings. Essays by Katrin Dillkofer and Helmut Friedel round off the book, which is published by Buchhandlung Walther König.