Katharina Grosse: Shadowbox / Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin / Interview

Katharina Grosse’s work is characterized by an anarchic impulse. Since the beginning of the 1990s, she has been working on a pictorial form that disregards fixed boundaries and hierarchies. For the Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin, Katharina Grosse has created a new group of works. The title of the show, shadowbox, gives rise to multilayered associations: from shadowboxing, to a kind of negative form of the white cube, all the way to the display.

In this video, Katharina Grosse talks about her installation Shadowbox at the opening reception of her exhibition at the Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin. Four oversized, convex ellipses face each other leaning against the interior walls of the Kunsthalle. The front sides of the heavy picture mediums made of laminated rigid foam are covered with Grosse’s characteristic spray painting. Since they are also perforated or cut, and visitors can walk around them, the supporting walls remain visible.

The sculptural forms rise almost all the way up to the art hall’s nine-meter-high ceiling joists. According to Grosse, the issue is not color, spectacular spatial experiences or performance, but rather “to open up a performative space of thought in which everyone can perceive reality in a different way: without notions of good and evil, without hierarchies and borders.” The shadowbox is an open system. “Painting, thinking and acting in it means that there is no longer a reality that is more real than potentiality. Reality is thus updated in the possibilities of each individual at all times.”

In this way, the audience is included in an aesthetic event in which qualities of experiencing architecture, sculpture and panel painting merge in one object. Hence, imagination and facts, illusion and abstraction, potentialities and realities cease to form opposite principles. It is precisely their coexistence that lends Grosse’s artistic work relevance within the larger social frame as well. For it offers perception – and cognition – a horizon of experience that goes beyond fixed ideas and unambiguous categories of mental and social stagnation. Grosse’s art impressively contradicts the belief that we must anchor our notions of the world and of ourselves in unshakable basic principles.

Katharina Grosse (born 1961 in Freiburg/Breisgau) lives and works in Berlin. Her expansive installations have been on view internationally in large solo exhibitions and in important group exhibitions. Katharina Grosse won the Fred-Thieler-Prize in 2003 and since 2000 she is professor at the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee.

The exhibition is curated by Dr. Katja Blomberg, Director of the Haus am Waldsee, Berlin, and since 2007 Member of the Artistic Advisory Board of the Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin.

Shadowbox was produced in cooperation with ARKEN – Museum of Modern Art and “Quadriennale 2010,” Düsseldorf, and parts of it will be shown later this year in Copenhagen and in the fall of 2010 as part of the Ruhr Quadriennale.

Katharina Grosse will also be showing new works at her exhibition stuntweed at Neues Museum in Nuremberg from May 1 to September 26, 2009.

Katharina Grosse: Shadowbox at Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin. Opening reception and interview, April 9, 2009. Video by Martin Griessmüller.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.

Posted in: art, Berlin, best of, interview, VernissageTV