KATHARINA GROSSEDestroy Me Once Destroy Me Twice2022 Acrylic on wood 39 x 91 m
Katharina Grosse is a world-renowned artist celebrated for her large scale, on-site paintings that open the medium in new ways that challenge our modes of perception, creating the potential for limitless connections between her art and the surrounding environment. Grosse has been reimagining and reinventing the idea of painting for decades now, using wood, soil, and other non-traditional supports to create dazzling interventions both indoors and outdoors. Building on her previous work in Denmark – “Asphalt Air and Hair” at ARoS Triennial 2017, in which brilliant whites and lavish pinks expanded across a huge swathe of landscape – Grosse will install a stage of painted wooden panels within the capacious confines of the campgrounds at the festival. This outdoor stage, removed from the more imposing height of the official performance venues, weds both painting and the idea of a space for music and self-expression to the literal ground of the outdoor event. The panels themselves represent a large-scale translation of Grosse’s recent wall-hanging works on wood, and are intended to support dancing, improvisational music, and other forms of collective engagement, all of which become possible on top of the stunning paintings underneath.
Since 1972, Roskilde Festival, the largest of its kind in Northern Europe, has been a melting pot that merges music and art. Grosse’s contribution to the festival’s 50th anniversary, a celebration that had to be postponed due to the worldwide pandemic, is one of her most comprehensive works to date.
A myriad of intense colours fervently expands across a massive, approx. 40 x 90 meters large irregularly-shaped platform made of wood. In correspondence with the landscape around the camping site the work fluctuates between its status as painting, dancefloor, and environmental sculpture. Inviting endless expressions of movement and interaction to take place at Roskilde Festival, and serving as a site for further communal activity and exchange, Grosse’s work is exemplary for this year’s festival theme: Solidarity.
The artwork presents an interactive field, untamed by any frame, flowing freely and connecting to the larger community, where festival visitors can participate by dancing not only to the festival beats but also by bringing and creating their own music. Planned workshops and other collateral programming ensure that the work will remain an ever-changing image, fostering a sense of community and togetherness.
With the title of the artwork, “Destroy me once, destroy me twice”, Katharina Grosse reaches back to an ancient, beautiful story from Greek mythology one of the earliest examples of the misuses of power that points to the importance of having a voice in fighting against it. Lusted after by the god Apollo, Cassandra rejects his advances and the deity, angered by her refusal, afflicts her with the curse of incredulity: She is still able to predict future events, but no one believes her. In “Agamemnon”, part I of Aeschylus’ Oresteia, Cassandra cries out: “Apollo, Apollo, my destroyer – you destroy me once, destroy me twice” (Verse 1080).
This passage serves as the inspiration for Grosse’s title, but it is also a powerful reminder of the urgent need to unite against inequality, to create a voice, to instigate change, to stand together in solidarity, the theme of this year’s festival.
“Destroy me once, destroy me twice” was curated by Creator Projects and realized in collaboration with Roskilde Festival.