Katharina has understood the challenge that Vara is dealing with: the brain-drain, young, competent people deserting the community. The idea for a new concert hall was born and consequently built. She is impressed by the budding new arts scene in Vara, with sold-out concerts every day. The downward trend here has been turned into something that is growing and prospering. This energy has impacted on the process of creating the new work of art. “Vara has been transformed – like in a fairytale. You can’t help wondering when you arrive here what a rare place this is,” she says, and seems to mean the town, the train station and its new life as a work of art.
To me, Blue Orange evokes that special sense of spontaneous joy and contemplation that characterises Katharina Gross’s works at their best. The train station as a historic, symbolic place merges with the immediate experience of her painting. The arrival in Vara is blue. The enormous spray-painted objects in different colours on the roof and platform are physically imposing, abstract and unique. Katharina speaks of a sensation – “jemand zu sein”, as she calls it in her native German: “being someone”. Here and now in Vara.
The title of the work was inspired by Paul Èluard’s poem “La terre est bleu comme une orange”. The world is blue like an orange. This new, monumental painting in Vara invites the poetry that is engendered when we encounter the new, the unfamiliar, or things we never even knew existed. Katharina ends the conversation with a simple yet wonderful thought: “Not everyone gets off in Vara. But Blue Orange might persuade more people to do so.”