Since her student years at the Düsseldorf Kunstakedemie Katharina Grosse has bravely forsaken standard theoretical experience, from Structuralism to media theory, in place of which she has resorted to a vigorous pictorial language defined by and through colour—which is always bright and contrasted—and an exceptional use of technique, developed and perfected for over three decades, from the time she embarked on her artistic career focused on expanding the limits of painting.
In her early works paint was applied following the plane on which lines were superimposed, forming grids: in comparison with colour-field painters, instead of subtle enraptured surfaces, Grosse combined antithetical ranges of colour that generated harsh chromatic conflicts. In the nineties she began to use a compressor to emphasise gesture, dissolving the physical limits of the support and gaining size. She is now introducing organic matter into her works, thereby revealing new textures.
In short, by combining the use of spray paint and the conventional paintbrush on one and the same support, and by affording her gestures a third dimension thanks to materials such as sand and earth, Katharina Grosse has activated space, a central issue in contemporary painting. In this sense, her commitment to place confers a certain narrative quality to her oeuvre, as revealed in the spectacular pictorial interventions in which she abandons the canvas to embrace the entire exhibition space.
"Ohne title (KG/M2007–8001L)", 2007. Acrylic on wood. 220 x 150 x 160 cm [Ref# 39571] "Ohne title (KG/M2010–1037L)", 2010. Acrylic on canvas. 248,5 x 165 cm [Ref# 40448] "Ohne title (KG/M2010–1045L)", 2010. Acrylic on canvas. 256 x 173 cm [Ref# 40453] "Ohne title (KG/M2006–8025M)", 2006. Acrylic on wood. Ø 135 x 21 cm [Ref# 39251] Photo: Heji Shin @ Katharina Grosse