Katharina Grosse is born in Freiburg, Germany, in 1961. She studies at the art academies of Münster and Düsseldorf with Johannes Brus, Norbert Tadeusz, and Gotthard Graubner. Since 1997 she teaches at numerous institutions: at the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Karlsruhe (1997 — 98), in Marfa, Texas, as Artist in Residence of the Chinati Foundation and from 1999 — 2000 at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen. In October 2000 Grosse becomes a professor at the Kunsthochschule in Berlin-Weissense.
In the paintings emerging after the mid-1990s, Grosse often combines loud, blazing, yet rarely covering colors that are composed in horizontal and vertical structures. The colors remain transparent, allowing the viewer to recognize the layers underneath. They form elongated, clearly contoured brush strokes that suggest vertical and lateral body movements. Linear traces emerge, determined by the size of the brush, the direction of application, and its dynamics. This creates structures of a gestural, dynamic quality, for example, if the paint has been placed in various, spatial layers or runs towards the bottom. Grosse includes the processual, the proceeding of painting as action, in her work. These are painterly decisions that structure the pictorial process. At the same time, the painting manifests itself as the result of spatial experience. Moments of movement, of corporeal engagement, and of the surrounding space make up a decisive element of her pictorial concept. Grosse’s paintings are tied to the range of the brush: »With my painting I always interact with the picture’s surroundings. (…) While painting risks its autonomy in this situation, it still establishes its own quality of place that renders it independent from the laws of its surroundings« (Grosse, in: Der Tagesspiegel, 2000).
Since 2001 Grosse shows changed linear traces of movement also in her spray paintings that distill painting to a controlled act. She now focalizes the process of the painting’s emergence: »With spraying, I am entirely detached from the surroundings, which means, I am wrapped in a protective suit, a mask, gloves, and glasses. Sometimes I even protect my ears, and I don’t even hear my own steps. At such moments I am in the smallest spatial enclosure possible. My immediate physical relation to the surrounding space is entirely reduced which allows my visual perception of the spatial surroundings to develop their utmost potential. I am thus the viewer of and at the same time the agent of the painterly activity « (Grosse, in: Kunstaspekte 2000). Grosse excludes questions beyond the realm of the pictorial. Process and result are always calculated, inextricably linked aspects of painting.
Katharina Grosse lives and works in Düsseldorf and Berlin.
Selection of Literature
Katharina Grosse: Ausst.-Kat. Magazin 3 Konsthall Stockholm, Stockholm 2004
Katharina Grosse – Cool Puppen. Der weiße Saal trifft sich im Wald. Ich wüßte jetzt nichts: Ausst.-Kat. Lenbachhaus München, München, St. Gallen u.a. 2002
Katharina Grosse: Ausst.-Kat. Kunstverein Ruhr, Essen 2002
Katharina Grosse: Location, Location. Location. Ausst.-Kat. Düsseldorf 2002
Katharina Grosse: Ausst.-Kat. Rhein. Landesmuseum, Bonn 1998
Katharina Grosse: Ausst.-Kat. Nürnberg 1998
Katharina Grosse: Ausst.-Kat. Schmidt-Rottluff Stiftung, Düsseldorf 1995