Katharina Grosse transforms Sydney
Sydney’s historic Carriageworks space has been transformed with 8250sqm of suspended fabric and raw colour. Its architectural elements are now swathed and entwined with layer upon layer of paint, canvas, and intrigue.
Welcome to the new work from renowned German artist Katharina Grosse. She invites visitors to enter her unreserved art environment, and experience the transformation from within.
Known for these works of kaleidoscopic colour and epic scale, Grosse takes viewers beyond the traditional painting boundaries, engaging us as both observers and participants. This approach has seen her paint, spread and spray vibrant colour across landscapes, trees, piles of debris, and a derelict beach house.
The Carriageworks unveiling is a site-specific installation and the third in the Schwartz Carriageworks series of major international projects, sponsored by BresicWhitney. A free exhibition as part of Sydney Festival 2018, The Horse Trottted Another Couple of Metres, Then it Stopped continues until 8 April 2018.
With Carriageworks momentarily unrecognisable, Grosse’s work seeks to break down the barriers between painting and installation, dealing with hard issues in a soft way. She depicts history in moments of colour, allowing visitors to explore the work in their own time. And this is one of her most ambitious yet.
“I have been able to create a work alongside my team in a space that explores other architectural ideas,” Grosse says.
“Everything had to be considered. There was a whole team that had to engineer the dynamics of the work, and how it was suspended within the space. I have never worked with this amount of fabric before or in a space such as this.”
Grosse tells of becoming one with the Carriageworks space and how her team is an extension of herself, holding the hoses, refilling her paint, and developing a sign language so no one speaks throughout the process. She individually applied the colour “like streams of consciousness”, as thoughts she sees, or rather, the ones she doesn’t see.
“Every time I stepped foot inside the work, I felt it made my body bigger,” she says. “With each work I experience something new. It forces you to not to feel comfortable, this feeling of experiencing and discovery, and gives me a type of energy.”
“There are so many different things that can happen in the artistic process but one of them, of course, is when you’re really rolling, you don’t want to interfere with the possibilities you have – by thinking smaller, or controlling them, or thinking things have to be bigger.
“You don’t want to interfere with what is happening so that you get that unhindered flow. It’s a really great moment at the end when you ask, ‘that was a whole day, how did that happen?”
Sydney onlookers are now stepping into this realm, perhaps more so than with a photographic or flat canvas exhibition. We can see where the work has changed over its 10-day inception, and move with it.
“It doesn’t have that one ‘right’ perspective from where you can view it,” Grosse says. “It means you are right away forced to move around, and see different bits of it and form an impression of it in your mind.
“And this changes as you move around it again and again and again, so you’re pushed to view things with a flexibility.”
The Carriageworks show started January 6 and runs until April 8, 2018.