12 JUNE – 27 SEPTEMBER 2021

Helsinki Biennale: The Same Sea


Katharina Grosse’s contribution to the biennial, entitled SHUTTER SPLINTER was a painting sweeping across the island’s old schoolhouse and the surrounding unkempt vegetation. The children who once lived on the military island attended the school from the 1950s to the 1980s. The building is contaminated and unfit for human habitation due to toxic actinomyces in the interior. Grosse has transformed the old schoolhouse into an outdoor studio in the tradition of plein air painting or Edvard Munch’s sending off his canvases into the weather.

In her painting, built structure and nature blend, as the colour touches the schoolhouse, a construction of shaped plywood planes, and the surrounding vegetation. While the schoolhouse will be demolished after the exhibition, the remaining traces of the painting will slowly vanish when the vegetation begins its new seasonal cycle. Grosse’s brief but visually striking intervention in the landscape is a reminder of the passage of time, engaging in a dialogue at the intersection of cultural memory and natural processes.© Images Hans Grosse
Katharina Grosse and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2021