Film / Impressions from "Chill Seeping from the Walls Gets between Us"

On view MAY 28, 2021 – JANUARY 23, 2022 Solo exhibition, HAM – Helsinki Art Museum, Finland

HAM Helsinki Art Museum will re-open to the public in a limited capacity on Tuesday 8 June 2021. The re-opening will coincide with the opening of German artist Katharina Grosse's exhibition at Tennispalatsi. Grosse has become internationally known for her large on-site paintings, which she sprays across objects, architectural structures and landscapes. In her first solo exhibition in Finland, Grosse will be taking over both of the arched halls on the upper floor of HAM. On display will be two new pieces for which the artists will transform the exhibition spaces into massive, all­ encompassing spatial works of art. Grosse will be painting one of the two pieces on-site, using the bright and vibrant colours characteristic of her art. Defying the conventions of two-dimensionality, Grosse's paintings can be considered a form of intervention, painting as she does over architecture and surfaces while paying no heed to boundaries, or as a membrane between different realities.

Grosse paints on all conceivable media, both indoors and out. An industrial spray gun provides the artist with the reach necessary to create her massive pieces. Grosse's rapid way of working allows her to seamlessly translate thought into action. She uses acrylic paints and ready-made industrial colours that are only mixed to form new tones upon reaching the surface being painted. The finished paintings reflect the artist's train of thought and movement within the space.

HAM's southern hall is filled by a three-dimensional painting based on over a thousand metres of cloth tied into knots. The mountain of cloth falling into folds from the ceiling and spreading across the floor was painted by the artist on-site. The dozens of over- and interlapping tones form a vast painting that visitors can step into. With each step, the piece shows a different side of itself. The physical experience of the painting is affected by the observer's own movement, changes in perspective and the presence of other people in the same space.

Occupying HAM's northern hall, her second piece consists of a labyrinthine assembly of thin, silky fabrics hung from the ceiling and reaching all the way to the floor. Printed on the fabrics are photographs the artist took in her studios and her previous installations. The photographs show what is left behind by the painting process on walls or floors. They show paintings in the making and finished ones, adapted in scale to the galleries. They revisit the notions of invisible space, absent space and folded matter. The art and artist are gone, yet their presence lingers. The printed photographs move the originally spatial and temporary act of painting and its residue into a new space, where the colours shine as real.

The fabric prints have been previously seen as part of exhibitions in Stockholm and Shanghai, among other places. However, the work tobe displayed at HAM is unique in scope and represents a new branch in Grosse's output exploring the "potentiality of painting":

With the photographic prints, the pantopia of painting is joined by its panchrony: painting can not only appear everywhere and anywhere, but also at each and any time - it exists even when it is no langer, or not yet, visible. (Ulrich Loock: Katharina Grosse - Pantopochronia, essay in the Katharina Grosse's exhibition catalogue, HAM 2021).

The Chi// Seeping from the Walls Gets between Us exhibition is curated by Head of Exhibitions Pirkko Siitari and Curator Sanna Tuulikangas from HAM. HAM will also be publishing an accompanying book with the same title to coincide with the exhibition. Katharina Grosse is also one of the featured artists of the Helsinki Biennial opening in summer 2021.

HAM will be opened 8.6. to a restricted number of customers so that visitors are genuinely able to keep a safe distance of two metres from each other. Up toten people are permitted in one space at a time and a maximum of 50 people will be permitted in the museum at a time. Museum staff will monitor the situation and instruct visitors so that we are able to maintain sufficient distances.