Katharina Fritsch, born 1956 in Essen, Germany, lives and works in Düsseldorf.
Lexikonzeichnung... 2006 From Door Cycle [Lexikonzeichnung (2. Serie Mensch)] Screenprint on both sides of an Amphibolin primed wooden door panel. Size: 200 x 90 x 4 cm (78¾ x 35½ x 1½"). Edition: 15, signed and numbered on separate label.
The sculptures of Katharina Fritsch (born 1956 in Essen, lives and works in Düsseldorf) have a way of imprinting themselves on one´s mind. With their simple outlines and bold use of color, they have the clarity of icons or pictographs. Her figures and objects are reminiscent of fairy tales, fables and myths. The attention Fritsch pays to the surfaces of the sculptures, and to their color, scale, and the space in which they are presented creates a strange tension between the familiar and the uncanny. A lifesize elephant is anatomically exact down to the last fold of skin, but painted in an unearthly blue-green. A man, tucked up in bed, is confronted by a giant black mouse that squats on his chest. 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 humor. Their iconography is drawn from many different sources, including Christianity, art history and folklore, without being reducible to a single source or meaning. »My "drawings" were based on illustrations from a 1936 edition of the Duden pictorial lexicon. The book (...) always fascinated me as a child. It actually shows every aspect of life from birth to death in a dry, standardized form in little pictures. I was interested in this kind of standard drawing. What is a drawing? For me a drawing is first of all a sheet of white paper with black lines on it that represent something (...)« The Lexikonzeichnungen show »a strong, firmly fixed world order, borrowed from a nineteenth-century Romantic Germany that didn´t exist at the time either. That is the second plane of these drawings for me: black lines on a white background, (...) representing a completely intangible illusion.«