Driven by a desire to paint outside the canvas, Katharina Grosse‘s exhilarating installations force their viewers to asses their relationship with their surroundings — they are often monumental in scale, always memorable in spectacle.
Working with a canvas already memorable and monumental, Grosse’s latest work is a collaboration with New York’s MoMA PS1 that honours a condemned building on the city’s Rockaway Peninsula. ‘In 2008,’ begins gallery director Klaus Biesenbach, ‘I saw Katharina Grosse’s work for Prospect.1 in New Orleans, where she painted a small house that was abandoned and condemned after Hurricane Katrina. I was deeply moved that a building just waiting to be taken down was given this temporary, proud, and fragile beauty. When I heard that the aquatics building in Fort Tilden was to be demolished following Hurricane Sandy, I immediately wanted to invite Katharina to do a project at the site.’
Celebrating the area’s ongoing regeneration, Rockaway! is a powerful intervention that plays with its landscape and the temporality of manmade structures — painted with the evocative colours of a Rockaway sunset, the decaying building becomes one with its surrounding; a fitting epitaph for a storied building whose days are numbered.