Katharina Grosse: Prototypes of Imagination

Katharina Grosse Gagosian Gallery

Following her acclaimed installation This Drove My Mother Up the Wall at South London Gallery last autumn, Gagosian is showing “Prototypes of Imagination,” an exhibition of new paintings by Katharina Grosse.

In the wake of bold new in-situ commissions at Carriageworks, Sydney and the National Gallery of Prague, Grosse’s exhibition further reveals the ways in which painting catalyzes the unfolding of multiple dimensions on a single surface. In two vast paintings on loose cloth and smaller works on stretched canvas, Grosse continues her use of stencils either to filter or completely block out areas of negative space. In some works, she evokes the right angles of the canvas, with bright white planes sliding and shifting amidst foils of otherworldly, unmixed colour.

Widely known for her temporary and permanent in situ works, in which explosive colour is rendered directly onto architecture, interiors, and landscapes, Grosse embraces the events and incidents that arise as she paints, opening up surfaces and spaces to the countless perceptual possibilities of the medium. Approaching painting as an experience in immersive subjectivity, she works with a spray gun, distancing the artistic act from the hand, and stylizing gesture as a propulsive mark.

In “Prototypes of Imagination,” Grosse reveals the ways in which painting catalyzes the unfolding of multiple dimensions on a single surface. Two vast paintings on loose cloth hang from the ceiling and spill onto the floor; here, Grosse’s vivid colours, gestures, and overlapping shapes assert their own spatiotemporal transformations that defy perspective and chronology. Expanding on Wunderbild, the imposing processional installation currently on view at the National Gallery in Prague, these new, unfettered paintings contain rectangular fields that slide and tessellate like the windows and tabs of a browser. These windows also dissolve into each other, and ghostly organic shapes appear within them, forming bright white silhouettes—both visual apertures and obstructions.

Grosse continues this approach in works on stretched canvas. Spatial tensions rise through shifts in chromatic temperature, and with stencils, folds, and other tools she allows for new patterns to emerge, forming visual records of her decisions, thoughts, and actions. In using stencils to either filter or completely block out areas of negative space, opaque fields are created to be interrupted by solid geometries and ambiguous transparencies. The result recalls photograms wherein individual objects are placed on photo-sensitive paper to produce images using light alone. Here, paint replaces light, as Grosse saturates the exposed fabric with blazing, spectral mists. Each composition bears intimate traces of its creation, such as the smudges of paint where a stencil has been removed, or showers of drips suddenly severed in their resistance to gravitational pull. Surpassing the limits of pictorial logic, Grosse’s paintings are paradigms of vision; just as forms seem to materialize, their edges effervesce, pulling the viewer into their kaleidoscopic dazzle.     

Duration 16 May 2018 - 27 July 2018
Times Tues-Sat 10-6
Cost Free
Venue Gagosian (Britannia Street)
Address 6-24 Britannia Street, London, WC1X 9JD
Contact / london@gagosian.com / www.gagosian.com