post-title Katharina Grosse | Spectrum without Traces | Galerie Max Hetzler | 17.03.-30.04.2023.

Katharina Grosse | Spectrum without Traces | Galerie Max Hetzler | 17.03.-30.04.2023.

Katharina Grosse | Spectrum without Traces | Galerie Max Hetzler | 17.03.-30.04.2023.

Katharina Grosse | Spectrum without Traces | Galerie Max Hetzler | 17.03.-30.04.2023.

until 30.04. | #3873ARTatBerlin | Galerie Max Hetzler shows from 17. March 2023 the exhibition Spectrum without Traces of the artist Katharina Grosse.

Galerie Max Hetzler is pleased to present Spectrum without Traces, a solo exhibition by Katharina Grosse showing a completely new body of work on canvas from the past year. In conjunction with the exhibition at Potsdamer Straße, the Window Gallery at Goethestraße 2/3 will display Grosse’s Untitled, 2023. This is the artist’s first presentation at the gallery. 

One of the most important painters of today, Katharina Grosse is internationally recognised for her bold, haptic paintings and saturated use of colour. Since the late 1990s, Grosse has employed a spraying technique to attack, redefine and subvert traditional notions of painting. Her kaleidoscopic vision spills into the physical world, sweeping across walls, floors, ceilings, everyday objects and sculptural structures. Through this radical inclusion of space as a field of action, the artist achieves a paradoxical clash of the expansion of colour with our material existence. Tracing the artist’s thought process or gaze, colour takes on a lifeforce of its own. Parallel to her in-situ works, the artist continues to pursue her studio paintings, of which the new body of work is the latest iteration. 

For her exhibition Spectrum without Traces, Katharina Grosse has limited her palette to six colours, which were sprayed unmixed onto the canvases. Multiple paintings were made simultaneously; they belong to the same family, but the way the colours mingle differs per painting. Sometimes they are close to each other, a red near a pink, creating a fluid transition. Elsewhere, a yellow is taking the lead, claiming the main part, or there is a deep purple leaving a dark note. Yet the colours never show up alone – in each painting, they are part of a bundle, inseparable in perception. What we see are strings of colours, some of them looping in parallel movement, others entangled or crossing. As a whole, they seem to move, floating or cutting through a white(ish) space. 

There is a play between sharp lines with clear focus and areas where the borders are blurry and soft. Through this interaction, different sensibilities are articulated, from firm and decisive to a milder touch. Folds in the fabric are suggested on a canvas that is tightly stretched. Is it illusionism? In fact, a light rain of sprayed paint has left an imprint of the folds that were visible when the canvas was still hanging on a few nails in the studio. Such effects create switches between seeing illusions of things we recognise and seeing a surface with shapes that are just marks, the here and now of paint at play. 

These perceptual switches are enhanced by fragments of figuration. No person, landscape, or object is depicted, and yet there are allusions to human action, as well as to nature, or to materials. The forms bear witness to physical gestures, to the arm and shoulder movements needed to produce loops, curves, and colour clashes. Other strings of colour make use of the same formal vocabulary that appears in nature: thick patterns of dense bushes, the gentle contours of a hill. The allusion to nature is supported by actual branches of bushes integrated into some of the paintings. Found around the studio where the works were made, the branches come from a coastal landscape, where hard winds and long views over water and skies are more present than fellow human beings. 

Everything in these works revolves around colour and its potential to attach itself to familiar forms but also to dematerialise—remaining present but without an identity. 

There is an ongoing sense of movement. A node of strings flare upwards like fire alighting, and then the lines exit the frame sideways, directed to some imaginary point outside the painting. In fact, in most of the paintings, the motifs relate to a world outside the frame, as if to draw our attention away from the work. In that sense, the paintings operate not unlike the works Grosse has made in open-air situations, where there is no frame setting the work of art apart from its surroundings. 

Rather than being invited to contemplate each of the paintings individually as a projection of an inner state, or as a collection of abstract expressionist gestures, we encounter a type of painting that reaches out to extend itself in space, sending our attention all around. It draws connecting lines and creates dynamics, facilitated by an ongoing streaming of colours. Whether we are directly in front of the works or looking at them from the side, the paintings affect what we see. Even if they just appear in the corner of our eye, they emanate a vivid energy, and make sure to be seen. Yet in terms of meaning, of saying what they are, they behave modestly, leaving themselves open to interpretations of different kinds. The proposition of this work seems to enhance colour in our field of vision, in our ways of seeing. No other story is told. Rather than pure depiction, symbolism, or narrative, it is colour itself that creates the space and has the ability to shift perspective, add a layer, affect the spirit and senses. Colour does not belong to a single figure or situation, it moves freely and can attach itself to any context. 

Jurriaan Benschop

Location : Potsdamer Straße 77–87, 10785 Berlin

Opening : Friday, 17. Mars 2023, 6 pm – 9 pm

Exhibition dates: Friday, 17. March – Sonntag, 30. April 2023

To the Gallery



Image caption: Katharina Grosse, Untitled, 2022, © Katharina Grosse and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2023, Courtesy the artist and Galerie Max Hetzler Berlin | Paris | London, Photo: Jens Ziehe

Exhibition Katharina Grosse – Galerie Max Hetzler | Contemporary Art – Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin – Ausstellungen Berlin Galerien – ART at Berlin

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