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Katharina Grosse Studio Paintings, 1988–2022: Returns, Revisions, Inventions

Monday, January 23, 2023 | 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum
Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis, MO 63112

Katharina Grosse is internationally celebrated for her large-scale, on-site works that she paints across built and natural environments. To date, less focus has been placed on her studio-based paintings. This exhibition explores that part of Grosse’s oeuvre, from her earliest paintings in the 1990s to her most recent. It highlights these important canvases and the role they have played throughout the artist’s career in her experiments with color and paint—their physical and optical properties, aesthetic potentials, qualities of independence, and ability to create motion.

Large and powerful to behold, Grosse’s paintings create heightened sensorial perceptions through their emphatic material presence. They disrupt the conventional relations of background and foreground, surface and subsurface, canvas and border to open up new imaginary worlds within and beyond the work of art. Blotches, streaks, swaths, and mists of color; complex layers of paint; sweeping expansive movements; and fluid, abstract forms convey a multiplicity that is simultaneous, mobilizing perceptions that are both intuitive and subliminal. The act of painting, conceived by Grosse as a prototype of human activity, and the ways she challenges subjectivity and selfhood—long intrinsically associated with the medium of painting—may be understood as a means for reckoning with the world beyond the canvas.

With 37 paintings selected in collaboration with the artist, this is the first exhibition in the United States to explore the full range of Grosse’s studio paintings. It is her second collaboration with the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. In 2016 the Museum commissioned a wall-sized, on-site painting by Grosse for the athletic complex at Washington University as part of its Art on Campus program. After its showing in St. Louis the exhibition will travel to the Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland, and Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany. It is accompanied by an international, bilingual scholarly publication featuring color reproductions of more than 160 paintings, serving as the first reference book on the artist’s career-long practice of studio painting.

The Kemper Art Museum is open Monday, Wednesday–Sunday, 11 am –5 pm. Closed Tuesdays.

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Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts


Arts & Culture



Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum
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