Katharina Fritsch is a German-born artist who transforms quotidian objects or mundane figures into something new. Using manipulation of scale and color along with repetition, Fritsch’s sculptures are usually hand-molded, cast in plaster, reworked, and then cast again in polyester. Her time consuming process creates results that are uncanny and strange.
Interested in psychology and the expectations of visitors to a museum, Fritsch’s work both appeals to the popular imagination, and a more conceptual thought process. One of Fritsch’s most popular works, Rattenkönig/Rat King (1993), a circle of black polyester rats that stand 12 feet tall, was included in the 1999 Venice Biennale. Both funny and frightening at the same time, works such as Rattenkönig/Rat King border on reality and illusion. Much of Fritsch’s work has an unsettling, often religious, association that is deeply psychological. Fritch’s sculptures tug at our deepest fears or most vivid dreams.
Usually pulling imagery from her world, subjects are often otherworldly in appearance, seemingly fantastical, like something out of a dream or a distorted memory. Her more recent installation, Hahn / Cock installed in Trafalgar Square in London is located across from Nelson’s Column. The Column is a monument built to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Fritsch’s giant blue rooster is meant to comment on the masculinity and public pomp of the square. Again, funny with its double entendres and absurd appearance, Fritsch’s sculpture is also deeply unnerving. Installed this past July for 18 months there is plenty of opportunity to check out Fritsch’s installation.