Katharina Fritsch’s iconic and singular sculpture plays on the tension between reality and apparition, between the familiar and the surreal or uncanny. Her iconic objects, images, installations and sound works seem able to imprint themselves on the mind, as if they were gestalts or things we have seen and experienced before (Part I).
By Dimitris Lempesis
Photo: Walker Art Center Archive
Katharina Fritsch’s solo exhibition “Multiples” is on presentation at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, on the occasion of the installation of her monumental new work “Hahn/Cock” (2013), the artist’s largest public work in a U.S.A. Museum Collection, that will be unveiled in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in June. The exhibition includes early examples from her student years at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie to later pieces, providing a look into her long-standing themes and ideas through 40 works drawn from the Walker’s collection. The sculptures of Katharina Fritsch have a way of imprinting themselves on the mind. With their simple outlines and bold use of colour, they have the clarity of icons or pictographs. Both funny and frightening at the same time, works such as “Rattenkönig” (1993), a circle of black polyester rats, that was included in the 1999 Venice Biennale, border on reality and illusion. Much of Fritsch’s work has an unsettling, often religious, association that is deeply psychological. Fritch’s sculptures tug. The attention that Fritsch pays to the surfaces of the sculptures, and to their colour, scale, and the space in which they are presented creates a strange tension between the familiar and the uncanny. The effect of giving solid reality to the visionary and fantastic is unsettling. It is a relationship that Fritsch is keen to explore: “I find the play between reality and apparition very interesting’, she says, ‘I think my work moves back and forth between these two poles”. Her sculptures open up dark areas of our collective consciousness and confront deep-seated anxieties, although this is often tempered by humour. Their iconography is drawn from many different sources, including Christianity, art history and folklore, without being reducible to a single source or meaning. In her working process, Fritsch combines the techniques of traditional sculpture with those of industrial production. She uses 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. Full of allusions to nightmares, spectres and symbolic figures, Fritsch’s work gives substance and weight to the fleeting products of our imagination.
Info: Curators: Pavel Pyś and Victoria Sung, Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis, Duration: 11/5-15/10/17, Days & Hours: Tue-Wed & Sun 11:00-17:00, Thu 11:00-21:00, Fri-Sat 11:00-18:00, www.walkerart.org