Critics’ Picks

Jan Groover, Untitled (, 1974, chromogenic prints, each 2 x 9 1/2".

Jan Groover, Untitled (, 1974, chromogenic prints, each 2 x 9 1/2".


Jan Groover

Prinzessinnenstr. 29
September 9–October 22, 2016

Jan Groover’s first solo show in Germany is made up of selections from the most divergent phases of her production. In the late 1960s, the artist’s focus shifted from painting to photography, though she always remained true to a certain style. In the three-part work Untitled (, 1974, part of a series of motion studies, formal considerations are confronted with intuitive moments. Her practice, in these works, of timing captures to events—in this case, cars driving past—reflects a certain conceptual approach, it is colors and shapes that generate the content of the image and which are, in turn, contingent on the moment. Such studies contrast with the still-life photographs on which Groover focused from the late 1970s onward.

One whole series of works, among them the chromogenic prints Untitled (KSL 63.1), 1978, and Untitled (KSL 68.2), 1979, are kitchen still lifes, consisting of utensils along with vegetables arranged in a sink. Via the integration of reflective surfaces, ambiguous and surreal spatial situations unfold. By contrast, the dramatically lit still lifes from the late 1980s are almost painterly. Untitled (NC 240.3), 1989, combines the concerns of classical painting with elements from modern set design. Much as in the works of Barbara Kasten, sculptural objects are translated from three dimensions into surfaces.

It is these developments in particular that make Groover a key figure in photography, albeit one who received limited recognition during her life even though she paved the way for contemporary artists such as Wolfgang Tillmans by uniting the conceptual and the poetic with the everyday.

Translated from German by Diana Reese.