Monday, 8 February 2010


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. Hearts, crosses, skulls, bottles and Madonnas are used to play on the fantasies and images that we share, but they are transformed through colour and material into things open and mysterious: latent notions transfigured into primal forms.

Fritsch often recasts characters and elements from her own, private world. In works such as Tischgesellschaft (Company at Table), (1988), subjects – usually male – are transformed through colour and material into frozen, hyperreal beings that seem without otherworldly apparitions. The clarity, austerity and precision of Fritsch’s forms is developed through a lengthy manual sculpting process, a way to achieve the near industrial perfection of their finish.

Fritsch also reworks memories or fantasies into strange, unsettling visions that confront the viewer with their bold directness, formal accuracy and startling geometry. In her most recent installation, based on postcards sent to the artist as a child from her grandfather, Fritsch has created a dreamlike garden, that is formally precise and which resonates with both personal and cultural nostalgia.

Singular forms are often used repeatedly to create a psychotic proliferation, placed in a strictly gridded tableaux or in perfect concentric circles for example Rattenkönig (Rat-King), (1991-1993) or Kind mit Pudeln (Child with Poodles), (1995-1996). Fritsch’s work often has unsettling religious or quasi-spiritual associations and is deeply psychological, as if she is attempting to give an image to our deepest fears recovered from the world of myth, religion, cultural history and everyday life.

KATHARINA FRITSCH was born in 1956 in Essen, Germany and lives and works in Düsseldorf. She represented Germany in the 46th Venice Biennale and has had many solo exhibitions including Dia Center for the Arts, New York (1993), SF MOMA (1996), Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel (1997), Tate Modern, London (2001), K21, Düsseldorf (2002) and a survey exhibition at Kunsthaus Zurich (2009) that will tour to Deichtorhallen Hamburg.(white cube)


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