Prototypes of Imagination, an exhibition of new work by Katharina Grosse, is on view at the Gagosian Gallery through July 27, 2018. Grosse is well known for her in situ paintings that respond to the environment in which they are produced, typically with explosive color rendered directly onto architecture, interiors, and landscapes. Employing bold colors and ambitious movement, her works test the limits of boundaries and redefine space. Her mold-breaking paintings and intricate constructions have challenged the contained space of the canvas and, in this exhibition, the boundaries between imagination and reality.
The artist’s use of an industrial spray gun has provoked comparisons of her work with street art or graffiti, as she coats the objects in her path, at times the walls and windows of the exhibition space, with bright color. These works can be seen as a meditation on the subjective and immersive experience of painting, as Grosse integrates events and experiences that emerge during the construction process into the artwork. In Prototypes of Imagination, Grosse seeks to “try out—and dramatically compress—the characteristics of reality” by building prototypes that can be reenacted and applied to other endeavors.
As in prior shows, a single gigantic painting on loose cloth is at the center of this exhibition. The huge expanses of loose cloth that Grosse works on in the studio allow the artist to respond to the specific architectural conditions in which the work will be housed. Grosse can paint beyond and in response to the frame of the gallery, from the location of her studio. In this particular example, the work hangs from the ceiling, resembling a hulking organic form, almost breathing with vibrant, pulsating color and the spectral silhouettes that interlock and fade into each other. The work reveals inverted chromatic zones produced by stencils of vaguely biomorphic form, as well as painterly gesture balanced with a dizzying array of overwhelmingly vibrant layers that suggest spatial and temporal transformation.
The other works in this exhibition, oriented around this centerpiece, are presented on stretched canvas and reveal a parallel effect of layered or scrambled form that tessellate and slide into each other. These pieces are punctuated by shifts in chromatic temperature, as well as forms created by stencils, folds, or other tools. These spaces of opacity or negative space are interrupted by solid geometries or ambiguous transparencies, creating a kaleidoscopic experience of color and movement that possesses a rhythm all its own. As the press release states, “each composition bears intimate traces of its creation,” thereby acting organically upon the limits of pictorial logic and showing the viewer the potentially hypnotic power of an encounter in the field of vision.
Exhibition Page [Gagosian Gallery]