How Artist Katharina Grosse ‘Accelerates and Compresses Time’ in Her Color-Filled Museum Interventions

Amid the vaulted ceilings and marble floors of the interior of Vienna’s Albertina Museum, slashes of vibrant color in every possible hue explode across the monochrome white walls. The chromatic intervention is courtesy of artist Katharina Grosse, whose contemporary artworks push the boundaries of form— collapsing structures, traversing corners and edges, spilling from wall to floor in exuberant motion. Wielding a compressorized airbrush allows the artist to achieve unparalleled force and dynamism, electrifying the staid white cube.

In an exclusive interview filmed as part of Art21’s Extended Play series back in 2015, Grosse explained the genesis of her practice, which has vaunted her to become one of the most respected artists of the 21st century.

“Interestingly enough,” the artist said wryly, “color is an element in painting that has always been discussed… as the female, less stable, less clear, and not so intelligent element… whereas the concept—the line, the drawing—is more the male, the clear, the progressive, and intelligent part of the artwork.” Of course, Grosse utilizes color to create a concept, as she noted, “in relationship to the crystallized and built and materialized world that is part of what I do when I paint in space.”

Featured image: Installation view, “Katharina Grosse: Why Three Tones Do Not Form a Triangle.” Photo: Sandro E.E. Zanzinger Photographie, courtesy of the Albertina Museum.

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