How painting escaped the canvas and another brush with death

The Conversation
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In January 2018, German artist Katharina Grosse's new work, a massive 8000 square metre installation will be unveiled as part of Sydney Festival 2018. Carriageworks Director Lisa Havilah affirms that this will be "the most ambitious single-artist commission Carriageworks has undertaken" and will involve responding to the unique industrial architecture and grand scale of the heritage building. Above and beyond the vast spectacle of the work, it is interesting to note the way Grosse speaks about the work as if it were a painting, retaining an intimate and expressive relationship to colour. This is confounding, even ironic, since no matter how hard you search you will not see a stretched canvas or stroke of brushwork in Grosse's work. This article will examine the historical evolution of painting, from the apparent 'death of painting', supposedly occurring at the hands of European avant-garde artists over 100 years ago - to the evolution of "expanded painting", where painting can no longer be reduced to colour, or paint or the flatness of an image. Painting is instead a changing pact between artist, medium and audience that is always under negotiation.
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