KATHARINA GROSSE | APOLLO, APOLLO

Collateral event of the 59th international art exhibition La Biennale di Venezia

ESPACE LOUIS VUITTON
23 APRIL – 27 NOVEMBER 2022


“Painting leaps into an unknown sense of reality, as present as a house
as versatile as a spirit”, Katharina Grosse
The Espace Louis Vuitton Venezia is displaying a whole new installation by German artist Katharina Grosse. As Collateral Event of the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, this presentation has been produced in the framework of the Fondation Louis Vuitton “Hors-les-murs” programme, which unfolds at the Espaces Louis Vuitton in Tokyo, Munich, Venice, Beijing, Seoul and Osaka, realizing the Fondation’s commitment to mount international projects and make them accessible to a broader public.

In 2013, Grosse began broadening her artistic scope by printing photographs on fabrics, like polyester and silk. In a dynamic dialogue with the architecture, her wall-sized prints – as seen at China’s chi K11 art museum in Shanghai (2018) or, most recently, at Finland’s HAM Helsinki Art Museum (2021) – display an imagery related to her painting practice, such as photos of her paintings, studio views or her paint-steeped hands. From May this year, her work will be shown in La Couleur en fugue exhibition at Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris; and this autumn, an original work commissioned by the Fondation in dialogue with Frank Gehry’s architecture will be installed on-site.
Specifically created for Espace Louis Vuitton Venezia, in a black setting largely covering the floor and the wall, Apollo, Apollo features a compositive image of the artist’s hands printed on a metallic mesh fabric, depicting a moment where the boundaries between the artist’s body and the coloured material blur in the act of creating. In the words of Katharina Grosse: “The image is chosen from a series of photographs showing situations or actions, connected to my painting practice in some way or another. […] It oscillates between surface, texture, image and object, order and disorder, destruction and creation, tension and release, forced and free-flowing movement.“

In the Venetian context and imaginative world – Fortuny fabrics, Terrazzo mosaics, omnipresent water and reflections – the metallic fluidity and hued intensity of Apollo, Apollo (a title that works as a mantra with polysemic connotations and condenses and combines mythology with the conquest of space) take on special resonance here. The surface reflects visitors’ movements and contributes to the quintessentially Venetian mirror effect. Apollo, Apollo blends the transparent with the opaque, letting light filter through, creating a gateway to a dreamlike world in which visitors question their own perceptions of reality and illusion.
The colours of the photographic reproduction, tied to the excluded and past elements of her own painterly praxis and yet detached from them, is given a new, transformed presence in richly experimental works printed on small metal discs tightly interlinked to form the highly flexible surface of metal mesh. The dimensions of Grosse’s print Apollo, Apollo, now exhibited for the first time in the Espace Fondation Louis Vuitton during the Venice Biennale 2022, are a vast 760 x 1,372 cm. Over its entire expanse, the shimmering grey metal has been printed with a composite photograph of hands that are steeped in gleaming paint and seem to tug left and right at equally colour-steeped fabrics. In the artist’s own words: “The image is chosen from a series of photographs showing situations or actions connected to my painting practice in some way or another. Depicting a moment where the boundaries between the artist’s body and the material blur in the act of painting, the work oscillates between surface, texture, image and object, order and disorder, destruction and creation, tension and release, forced and free-flowing movement.”

As if in a technological reversion to Stone Age hand-imprints, the selfsame artist’s hand that withdrew from the actual production of a work such as Apollo, Apollo now comes back into play. Printed paint in the shape of hands and folds of fabric combines with the gathered metal mesh, gliding and slithering down from wall to floor like a viscous liquid. What we see is a toxically glittering, image-bearing skin, whose delicate yet resilient materiality resists any immediate identification.
The decisive condition for Grosse’s painting in general is the separation of the paint from its support: there is no obligation for the paint to settle on a certain object as the concept of local colour might suggest. Through the printing of the reproduction on metal sequins the coloured precipitation of sprayed painting is released from being bound to any fixed place and stands ready – provisional in time, transposed in space and heedless of the appropriateness of its location – to lay down a coloured image on any given reality.

© Katharina Grosse and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2022
© Images Jens Ziehe, Courtesy Louis Vuitton
© Video www.art-beats.de

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