The borders between venue and exhibit fade in a flurry of colour in Katharina Grosse’s monumental works. Her latest in-situ creations fill the Columned Hall of the Albertina.
- Designs implemented with the specific exhibition space in mind
- Colour and shape combine to create an immersive, unconventional display that challenges preconceptions (and makes you watch your feet)
- Runs Nov 1, 2023 – April 1, 2024
- Book Albertina tickets* online
- See also:
Rooms with a view
(View of the Katharina Grosse exhibition; press photo © Katharina Grosse / Bildrecht, Wien 2023; photo by Sandro E. E. Zanzinger Photographie)
Art in the Albertina arrives in diverse guises.
As I write, the museum’s current special exhibitions cover Renaissance drawings, large-format photos from the US of the 1980s, the sublime paintings of the “provocative” Gottfried Helnwein, and…Katharina Grosse’s work that could not be more contemporary if it entered a timeslip and came to us from the future.
The “of the moment” aspect of Grosse’s art stems from her integration of the surrounds in the large-scale paintings and installations she creates.
As a result, her art becomes immersive, three-dimensional, and unique to the location…inviting a different level of experience for the visitor and distorting conventional expectations and perceptions of the exhibition environment.
The artist’s international reputation and success can be seen in the prestigious institutions hosting her work. Just this decade, she has had solo exhibitions or installations in Switzerland, China, Germany, the USA, Italy, Finland, and more.
To illustrate her impact, consider that the Museum of Fine Arts Boston commissioned a work by Grosse specifically to place alongside Jackson Pollock’s 1943 Mural painting.
(Katharina Grosse, Studio view, Berlin-Spandau, 2021; photo: Katharina Grosse | Copyright: Katharina Grosse and Bildrecht, Vienna 2023)
Grosse explains much of the thought and theory behind her approach in this interview published in 2020 and notes, for example:
I expand scale to such an extent that my paintings demand physical involvement and movement on the part of the visitors. Site, viewer and work of art become entangled in a relationship of mutual dependency and create an ecosystem.
And so it is at the Albertina, where the artist applies her designs to the Columned Hall area in the Why Three Tones Do Not Form a Triangle exhibition.
Entering the exhibition has that “wow” effect thanks to a defining characteristic of much of Grosse’s work: the glorious swathes and swirls of chromatic intensity. Bright colours spill out across surfaces and thus, inevitably, change your awareness of those same surfaces and structures.
We spend most time in exhibitions commanded to avoid contact with the art. And here you have paint on the floor and even across an entrance to one side room. So I found myself watching where I stood, walking gingerly across rooms or in circles, checking if I’d left a footprint.
This makes for quite an unusual experience.
Putting the art and interpretation aside for a moment (and I may sound a little naïve now)…but some unbridled pigment-filled pleasures certainly did me good given the wider world news and the onset of the dull days of autumn and winter.
It’s almost a shame the entrance to the exhibition area has glass doors: a dark curtain to pass through would have added more surprise to that immediate colourful impact.
Dates, tickets & tips
Immerse yourself in Katharina Grosse’s creations from November 1st, 2023 to April 1st, 2024. An entrance ticket for or from the Albertina includes the exhibition.
(Booking service provided by Tiqets.com*, who I am an affiliate of)
How to get there
Simply follow the travel tips on the Albertina post. The Columned Hall is on the same level as the entrance. After the ticket counter, bear left and then go immediately right down the lovely-looking historical corridor.
Address: Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Vienna