Asta Gröting
Germany, 1961
Between 1981 and 1986, Gröting studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, a meeting place and training centre for an entire generation of German artists. Among the teachers who most influenced her were Joseph Beuys, who inspired her to explore and go beyond the boundaries of sculpture over the course of her career, and Klaus Rinke, from whom she learned that the human body can be an immediate and essential subject for art. Her first works, produced in the mid-1980s, used a highly diverse range of contrasting elements. At that time her eclectic repertoire of materials included glass, plastics of all kinds, leather and nutshells, among others. These elements gave each of her pieces a high degree of specificity, setting Gröting apart from other artists whose work was more homogenous in form. From 1990, when her creations were presented at the Biennale of Sydney and in the Aperto of the Venice Biennale, her work began to be widely recognised and exhibited in venues around the world. This was also the period when she created works that reproduce the digestive system of a shark (almost three metres long) in intensely transparent Murano glass, as well as human and animal organs. Asta Gröting works primarily in sculpture. The themes she addresses include the tension between the dynamic and the static, an intrinsic dilemma in the representation of living beings, the essential balance of opposites in human existence, and the inevitability of the cycles of life. Many of her works allude to a circularity in which start and end points often coincide. In this way she is able to produce sculptures that also reflect the process through which they were created. Over the years she has added other formats to her repertoire, such as video and performance, maintaining her characteristic formal sophistication in meticulously executed works of fiction. At the same time she has increasing focused on the tensions generated by the relationship between the individual and society, emphasising how they give rise to new mechanisms of subjectivity. Asta Gröting now lives in Berlin.
Ferran Barenblit