Apr 23, 2012
This week: We talk to artist Katharina Fritsch!
Richard says "cock" and "Hologram Tupac" a whole lot.
Katharina Fritsch is known for her sculptures and installations
that reinvigorate familiar objects with a jarring and uncanny
sensibility. Her works' iconography is drawn from many different
sources, including Christianity, art history and folklore. She
attracted international attention for the first time in the
mid-1980s with life-size works such as a true-to-scale elephant.
Fritsch’s art is often concerned with the psychology and
expectations of visitors to a museum. Gary Garrels wrote that “One
of the remarkable features of Fritsch’s work is its ability both to
capture the popular imagination by its immediate appeal and to be a
focal point for the specialized discussions of the contemporary art
world. This all too infrequent meeting point is at the center of
her work, as it addresses the ambiguous and difficult relationships
between artists and the public and between art and its display—that
is, the role of art and exhibitions and of the museum in the late
twentieth century.” The special role colour plays in Fritsch's work
has roots in her childhood visits to her grandfather, a salesman
for Faber-Castell art supplies, whose garage was well-stocked with
Her most recognized works are Rattenkönig/Rat King (1993), a giant circle of black polyester rats, included in the 1999 Venice Biennale. Other works include Mönch (Monk) (2003), a stoic, monochromatic male figure, made of solid polyester with a smooth, matte black surface; Figurengruppe / Group of Figures (2006-2008), an installation of nine elements; and Hahn (Cock) (2010), a 14ft (4.3m) cockerel in ultramarine blue to be shown on London's Trafalgar Square in 2013.
In her working process, Fritsch combines the techniques of traditional sculpture with those of industrial production. While many of her early works were handcrafted, Fritsch now makes only the models for her sculptures and then hands these over to a factory for production, to near-pathological specifications. She uses these models to create moulds, from which the final sculptures are cast in materials such as plaster, polyester and aluminium. Many are made as editions, meaning that multiple casts are taken from one mould. For the duration of some of her exhibitions, Fritsch has made her multiples available for sale at the respective museums.