Katharina Grosse

October 17, 2001 - January 27, 2002


The work of Düsseldorf-based artist Katharina Grosse presses against the confines of the painterly tradition. Engaging a range of surfaces, including aluminum, canvas, paper, and existing architectural elements, Grosse's site-specific abstract paintings are executed in a manner that emphasizes color over brushwork, movement over stasis, and impermanence over permanence.

Hammer Projects are curated by James Elaine.

About the Exhibition

By Sabine Russ


An encounter with one of Katharina Grosse’s vibrant abstract paintings can be exhilarating, soothing, mystifying, distressing, and often all of these things at once. For instance, a huge and hazy stain of dark green with blinding yellow edges, soaking the upper part of a wall and crossing over to the ceiling, hovers like an apparition above the viewer, simultaneously lifting one up and weighing one down. Or a big blot of deep red blurred by bluish and sallow mist makes an entire room seem to pulsate and bleed, evoking feelings of both safety and fear. Other projects make unconventional and risky alliances in terms of style. An enormous billboard in Auckland, New Zealand, which Grosse spray-painted during her recent residence there, fuses a calm and elusive Monet-like texture with the flashy, feverish rhythm of graffiti. Staging such color events, rife with contradictions, is Grosse’s forte, and the idiosyncratic imagination, exuberance, and audacity she brings to her medium has put her among the most interesting younger German painters today.


Grosse first started to attract attention in the mid-1990s with her unusual color-field paintings. The neatness, and perhaps rigidity, one might normally associate with the genre was undermined by her subtle use of offbeat, dirty mixtures as well as intentionally flawed brushwork. Enthusiastically experimenting with colors and brush strokes and exploring the psychological impact different combinations of tones and textures can have, Grosse soon moved to larger formats and exchanged the brush for a broom. Covering thick sheets of paper with individual colors (which were often the result of several layers of paint) and hanging them like curtains before the wall enabled her to improvise and to play with a sequence until a desired tonal arrangement was found. These painting installations had a way of filling the space like sound, spreading their often dissonant vibrations beyond the borders of the works and resonating in every part of the room. More

Sabine Russ is a German writer and curator based in New York City.


Hammer Projects are made possible by The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional support is provided by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and Peter Norton Family Foundation.

This exhibition has received additional assistance from The Goethe-Institut Los Angeles.


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