Clara Gross is a visual artist based in New York City. Her work sits at the intersection of art and architecture, and is considered site-specific in the sense that it is a direct reaction to the physicality of a space or place. Her new series Movable City is based on a study of her experience of the streetscape and urban texture of Berlin. The series includes drawing, sculpture, and video. The work has emerged from a process of long walks and close observation, as well as research on the architectural history of Berlin.
What makes Berlin feel like Berlin? The answer is something beyond the prevalence of a certain decorative or design element. It has to do with light and how it interacts with material. It has to do with the mass and form of buildings and how that sculpts out the negative space of the street. Life happens in the spaces between walls, between buildings, between city blocks. For it is through our dwelling in them, the negative spaces become activated, positive spaces.
Gross describes the experience of the streetscape in Berlin as one of frequent and subtle expansion and contraction; you go through an entryway that leads to a courtyard; you are on a street that opens into a park. The experience of these subtle open/close elements builds into a patterning of expanding and contracting as you move through the city.