National Gallery Prague
For the National Gallery in Prague, Grosse elaborates a large-scale, site specific painterly installation which radically redefines painting as a performative and architectural medium and responds to the Gallery's industrial space of the late 20s functionalist style. Her “Wunderbild” is an architectural painting, a spatial image which the viewer inhabits with his/her body and mind. The color gains a volume; the flat surface turns sculptural; the pictorial field crosses the limits of the visual. Epic in scale, immersive installation reminds of both a medieval mural and a womb-like cave of a pre-ancient drawing, a post-theatrical chamber of a hyper-technisized, intoxicating environment. The painting takes over the site; Grosse’s gesture is an art of becoming a space. “I’m a painter - the artist confesses - I’m interested in the space generated by the painted image and how it can appear in any kind of existing field, be it architecture or the mundane situations of everyday life. For me, painting isn’t restricted to a canvas or a wall”. According to Grosse, the painting is an unconstrained act of freedom. Her “Wunderbild” in the National Gallery in Prague is an outburst of pictorial generosity. Registering a gestural moment of image’s appearance, it perceives painting as a processual practice of an extreme resilience and flux, a life itself, a mental and physical preoccupation.
Additionally, Grosse is conceiving an intervention on the threshold between the architecture and the natural environment, outside of the Gallery. In both cases, the artist creates an autonomous space, defined by color and form, a post-romantic landscape of a subjectivity and nature in ruins.
As such, monumental installations of Katharina Grosse can be situated in-between the American Land Art movement and the late 19th century German romanticism. Occupying liminal territories of an interior (institutional space) and an exterior (public space), and often integrating natural materials (trees, rocks, soil, etc.), her often large-scale architectures are hybrids that reach beyond the divide of nature and culture. They create a space of co-habitation of human and non-human, organic and non-organic, the natural and the artificial, leading towards a subjective anthropology for a world in an ecological decline.
Curated by Adam Budak
WUNDERBILD, Installation view National Gallery Prague,
Commissioned by the National Gallery in Prague
Photo: Studio Katharina Grosse
(c) 2018 Katharina Grosse and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn