ART & DESIGN

Artist Françoise Grossen Is All Tied Up


Photographer: Charlie Rubin

Swiss-born artist Françoise Grossen first splashed on to the New York art scene in the late sixties at the Museum of Modern Art’s Wall Hangings exhibition, where her large-scale fiber sculptures stood alongside works by contemporaries like Sheila Hicks and Eva Hesse. Best known for her colossal rope pieces, most of which dangle from the ceiling, Grossen distinguished herself by utilizing rudimentary braiding and plaiting techniques—an instinct influenced by a decade spent traveling and tutoring in Africa. Now, 72, the peripatetic artist is back in the spotlight for a retrospective solo show at Blum & Poe, where her work feels paradoxically fresh. Before the opening, Grossen opened up her renovated loft on 15th street—which she has called both studio and home for more than 30 years—for a tour. Take a look inside here.

Françoise Grossen opens June 4th at Blum & Poe, 19 E. 66th Street, New York, blumandpoe.com.

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Photographer: Charlie Rubin

Artist Françoise Grossen at her New York studio.

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Photographer: Charlie Rubin

“Like life, the big question is always the beginning and the end. Starting is easy—you have a rope—which is endless—but stopping means cutting it.”

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Photographer: Charlie Rubin

“We bought [the apartment] when it was still a factory. We cleaned the machinery and did everything ourselves. My husband was an architect and wanted to show the whole space. The bath is the only permanent structure—everything else can come down in an afternoon.”

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Photographer: Charlie Rubin

“I didn’t expect there would be a renewal. Ropes were everywhere in the sixties and seventies and then it stopped completely. Now it’s back—I’m glad to be around to witness it.”

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Photographer: Charlie Rubin

“With weaving you need a loom. I always felt freer working with just my hands. Starting at the top and working my way down.”

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Photographer: Charlie Rubin

“Maybe my discipline is Swiss, but after 50 years in New York, I think the city has had its effect.”

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Photographer: Charlie Rubin

“Almost all of my work is built upon two knots. Like letters in an alphabet, everything builds upon itself.”

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Photographer: Charlie Rubin

“I find inspiration is cumulative.”

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“The city is creeping in. The urban landscape stimulates me—but not to the same extent looking at plants and animals does.”

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Photographer: Charlie Rubin

“People were always surprised by my size because my work is so large. Now, looking back at what I did then, I ask myself: ‘Was I crazy?’”

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Photographer: Charlie Rubin

“This show is like a fairytale. I didn’t expect it, but I’m very thankful to be able to see it all come together.”