Artwork Detail

German, b. 1961
Acrylic paint on wallboard, wood veneer, and steel
480 x 960 x 67 "
University purchase, Art on Campus fund, Gary M. Sumers Recreation Center, 2016
WU 2016.0007
This site-specific installation by the German artist Katharina Grosse was commissioned for the Gary M. Sumers Recreation Center, which opened in 2016. Consisting of a dramatic intervention covering the center’s interior entrance wall, the work exemplifies the artist’s signature spray-gun technique and the fusion of painting and architecture for which she is internationally known. As with Grosse’s previous work, such as her 2003 installation in Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, the painting transgresses the architectural boundaries of the space, moving over multiple surfaces and onto adjoining walls in a strong diagonal direction. Vibrant primary and secondary colors are densely layered, and the material plasticity of the artist’s chosen medium is emphasized through drips and large areas of overspray, suggesting a sense of dynamic movement and revealing the gestural marks of the artist’s process. Significantly, Grosse leaves one area at the edge of the entrance wall unpainted, exposing the original layer of the architecture and simultaneously allowing the painting to frame itself. Immediately to the left of this unpainted area is a vertical stripe that displaces the diagonal gestures of the composition and reinforces the sense of a frame. As with the artist’s use of the spray gun, this displacement mediates the directness of the painting process and adds a self-reflexive element to the installation. The sophisticated interplay with the architectural space results in a contextual work that also asserts its own sense of autonomy. To develop her large-scale installations, Grosse draws on a wide range of art historical precedents, including fresco painting, street graffiti, and Abstract Expressionism. Situated within the University’s Athletic Complex, this work’s vibrant and active presence generates an immersive experience that intensifies awareness of both the environment and one’s own body as one passes through the multistoried space. [Art on Campus brochure, 2017]