01 My work is based on an elaborate system of heist that draws on centuries of non-fiction, fiction, drama, journalism and poetry – the exploitation of my personal writings and dreams included. Yet these loans quickly transcend the limitations of the spoken or written word and take on visual and physical shapes in the form of moving images, installations, and sculptures. What interests me about the resulting entanglements is the construction and re-construction of subjects at large, and of structures of desire, power, and pain associated with material culture.
02 Materials, concepts and ideas that I use in my practice are stolen from quick notes written down on loose paper. They appear suddenly but stay with me for months or years before taking on a concrete form. I often remove personal connections once I find a universal truth in these ideas - cutting off limbs to make the wounded unrecognizable. While I have tried to create a didactic formula for developing these concepts over time, it turns out that, in reality, a more intuitive and moment-driven approach determines the path of each piece. After the initial ecstasy, I revisit aspects of the work repeatedly, using analog and digital techniques - really whatever is necessary - to organize texture, rhythm, and structure, again inspired by the flow of music and literature.
03 In the crafting of narrative - storytelling - something awakens that allows the interactions between the fictional world and the world we call reality. I think thats simply the case because humans are fictional beings and, therefore, extraordinarily receptive to myths, symbols, and stories at large. For better or for worse, how we see in language's relationship to historical formation, especially in 1930s and 40s Germany, which led me to use more encoded, visual narratives without many spoken or written words.
04 I regularly return to public space as a site for architectural intervention and installation because I am convinced that a society is constituted by the environment it creates. Inside and outside, exclusion and inclusion are inextricably linked in this hermeneutic approach to answer Gaston Bachelard's "What does it mean to exist it a space?".
While my home state on the Franco-German border is a historical testament to how places (and non-places) can be geographically torn between spheres of political interest, my career in advertising has led me to question the mediation of place through screens - which I see as the new separators of social space. Entertainment vs. Enlightenment. In both cases, I view the environment as a symbolic medium whose meanings can be shaped beyond the capabilities of my studio or the white cube.
2021 Retribution, Koenig Gallerie, Berlin, Germany
Large-scale, Site-specific Video Installation, 36:00 minutes (Digitalized 16mm)
Groth's practice is preoccupied with the conditions under which economic, sexual and cultural relationships have tangible effects on the fortunes of individuals. Across mediums, with a focus on moving image and installation, he examines routines, systems and rituals by which we cope with these fortunes in oder to investigate what it means to be a character and what it means to have story. Relationships between space and narrative, human body and environment as well as time and memory are enduring themes in his work. Groth graduated with distinction from the University of the Arts London and continued his studies in the MFA Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which awarded him the Dean Professional Development Award in 2021.
Recent solo and group exhibitions include Koenig Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, Tate Modern Turbin Hall, London, United Kingdom, Goethe Institute, Chicago, United States, Koenig Galerie, Berlin, Germany, Tribeca Film Center, New York, United States. Collaborators include the David Lynch Foundation, Los Angeles, the Festival of Disruption, Louis Vuitton’s Artistic Director Virgil Abloh, 032c Magazine and Flash Art Magazine among others. His film works have been screened at institutions such as the International Short Film Festival Riga, Experimental Film Festival New York City, the Goethe Institute of Chicago, the St. Agnes Church in Berlin as well as the MCM Tower in Ginza.
Philipp Groth is a conceptual artist, film director and educator at the University of Applied Science, Design Academy in Berlin. He was born at the German-French boarder and lives and works in Chicago and Berlin.