December 5, 2020

Katharina Grosse Bridges Painting and Sculpture With “It Wasn’t Us” Exhibition in Berlin

The site-specific It Wasn’t Us by Katharina Grosse is on view at the Hamburger Bahnhof–Museum für Gegenwart–Berlin through at least January 10. Photography by Jens Ziehe/courtesy of Katharina Grosse and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020.

For Katharina Grosse, a painting can appear anywhere. In fact, we featured her series of sustainable Paulownia and water-based acrylic surfboards, the sales proceeds of which went to Parley Global Cleanup Network, in the magazine last year. It was then that the German artist’s largest unconventional canvas was being prepared. It Wasn’t Us occupies more than 25,000 square feet of the Hamburger Bahnhof–Museum für Gegenwart–Berlin (which, at press time, was closed to the public due to COVID-19). The exhibition begins in the Historic Hall, where vivid acrylics cover a nearly 44-foot-tall CNC-cut polystyrene sculpture and the floor, continues through a doorway to the asphalt outside, and culminates on the facade of the Rieck Hall. “I painted my way out of the building,” Grosse says. In reference to the show’s title, chosen before the pandemic struck, she adds, “Now more than ever we recognize that we cannot shy away from responsibility.” As such, when her installation is dismantled next year, the 12,000 pounds of polystyrene will be recycled, likely reused for insulation.

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