Color Explosions
Katharina Grosse at Carriageworks and Villa Medici

“Color has the potential to transform materials,” Katharina Grosse said in an interview with ArtMag. And not only that: Since the end of the 1990s, the Berlin-based artist has regularly demonstrated that she can transform entire rooms using color. Two current projects show just how spectacular her interventions can be: In Sydney, she transformed the brick halls of Carriageworks into a psychedelic cosmos; in Rome she and Tatiana Trouvé are featured at Villa Medici.

Sydney was an important stage in Grosse’s artistic career. For the 1998 Biennale of Sydney, the artist, who is represented with many works in the Deutsche Bank Collection, created a mural in 1998 for which she applied paint using a spray pistol for the first time. In the meantime, this technique has become Grosse’s trademark and was also used in the Carriagework’s enormous industrial halls. In a place where railroad cars were once produced ambitious exhibitions, theater events, and the Deutsche Bank-sponsored art fair Sydney Contemporary are now held. For her intervention entitled The Horse Trotted Another Couple of Meters, Then It Stopped, Grosse draped more than 8,000 square meters of fabric on walls and floors. The contrasting red, blue, green, and yellow shades literally envelop the viewer. The title of Grosse’s project alludes to a very specific experience: “The moment we stop our ritualized, rhythmic movements, it opens up your vision to something you hadn’t seen before.”

The project for Villa Medici is also about the “anarchic, unpredictable power of color,” in the words of Chiara Parisi. The curator organized the double exhibition in which Grosse’s luminous environments meet Tatjana Trouvé’s installations made of glass panes, metal rods, and found pieces. Both artists appropriate entire rooms with great authority. In the great gallery, Grosse installed spray-painted pine trunks she found in the Medici garden. The recently chopped-down trees were once planted in the Villa’s garden by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. In the 1830s, the painter was the director of the Académie de France à Rome, which had been there since 1803. With Ingres Wood, the artist transferred part of the garden into the interior of the Renaissance building. The colors on the tree trunks continue on a long length of material that also covers the staircase leading to the top floor. Whether in Rome or Sydney, Grosse’s interventions possess an incredible dynamism, and their explosions of color seem to have a life of their own. “Everything I do is motivated by a search for freedom,” Katharina Grosse once said. When you enter her color spaces, you know exactly what she means. 

Katharina Grosse: The Horse Trotted Another Couple Of Meters, Then It Stopped
Until April 8, 2018
Carriageworks, Sydney.

Katharina Grosse and Tatiana Trouvé: Le Numerose Irregolarità
Until April 29, 2018
Villa Medici, Rome