Sculptural elements made of polystyrene for Katharina Grosse

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The internationally renowned artist Katharina Grosse has temporarily transformed the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin and parts of the outdoor area into an immense, colorful work of art. The boundaries between painting and sculpture are unconventionally dissolved in Katharina Grosse’s space-transcending and color-intensive polystyrene artwork. In this exhibition entitled “It Wasn’t Us”, huge, rock-like elements, the floor inside and outside the museum and parts of the façade merge into a gigantic, three-dimensional painting in bright colors.

ACCENTFORM was commissioned with the production and assembly of the oversized sculptural elements and was thus able to contribute to this extraordinary installation. This project presented us with a number of challenges, which we mastered in close cooperation with the client.

A 1:50 scale polystyrene model of the artwork, handmade by the artist, was scanned externally and converted into 3D data. These served as a template for 3D milling. A total of five polystyrene objects were involved. First, a test model on a scale of 1:10 was milled using our 5-axis milling machine based on the 3D data. This model then served the artist in her studio as a visual object for color matching and further adjustments, which were then milled by us on a scale of 1:5.

The 1:5 model was also reworked by the artist and once it had been approved, we were able to mill the five rock-like objects in their original size. Due to the gigantic dimensions of up to 21 m in length and 7 m in height, these first had to be sensibly segmented. The milling time of 1,400 hours and the polystyrene consumption of 1,050 m³ alone give an indication of the scale of this gigantic project.

After the parts had been provisionally assembled, Katharina Grosse and her assistants worked on the surface with hot wire in our halls according to her ideas.


Sculpture before painting, photo: Philip Radowitz

The finished segments were delivered individually to Berlin and assembled on site in the historic hall of the Hamburg railroad station. The installation by our team took nine days. The artist then made further adjustments to the surface and spray-painted over the white “icebergs” with bright colors and integrated them into her space-bursting installation.

We were able to gain a personal impression of the extraordinary work of art at the exhibition opening and are proud to have contributed to it within the scope of our possibilities.

As this work by Katharina Grosse is also a temporary installation, the polystyrene elements will be 100% recycled after the end of the exhibition.

Pictures from production:

Pictures from the art exhibition:

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More Information

Project details


Studio Katharina Grosse, Berlin


Katharina Grosse
Homepage of the artist

Installation site

Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart
Invalidenstrasse 50-51
10557 Berlin

Art exhibition

“It Wasn’t Us” –


Jens Ziehe

Philip Radowitz

All photos: © Katharina Grosse and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2021, Courtesy König Galerie / Gagosian / Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder and Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin”

Project number