Katharina Fritsch roots her work in the personal, often drawing from childhood memories of familiar circumstances or chance encounters. Her references engage broad aspects of folklore and culture through meticulous reproductions of everyday objects, which she formally manipulates with shifts in scale and color. Made strange by repetition and siting, her sculptural installations are both seductive and disturbing. In the Proustian sense of activating memory, Fritsch’s works create an unnerving familiarity that is subsequently destabilized by the realization that we are seeing a form, a character, or an object for the very first time.
While Fritsch’s painstakingly handcrafted objects are easily mistaken for manufactured items, the artist employs a complicated and time-consuming fabrication process that begins with sketches and scale models. Molded by hand, worked and reworked, each object is subjected to multiple processes of casting or layering. The completed yet still idiosyncratic forms are then painted in bold, highly saturated colors with matte, nonreflective surfaces, creating a sense of otherworldliness. In Fritsch’s words, “Often my sculptures have a matte surface so that there is no reflection whatsoever from the surroundings. That increases the impression of a vision that one cannot grasp.”
Born in Essen, Germany, Fritsch trained at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, where she continues to live and work.
Katharina Fritsch is organized by the Art Institute of Chicago with major funding from the Bluhm Family Endowment Fund, which supports exhibitions of modern and contemporary sculpture. This exhibition was created with funds from the Prince Prize for Commissioning Original Work, which was awarded to Katharina Fritsch and the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011.
Generous support is provided by the Exhibitions Trust: Goldman Sachs, Kenneth and Anne Griffin, Thomas and Margot Pritzker, the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Foundation, Melinda and Paul Sullivan, and the Trott Family Foundation.
Katharina Fritsch's installation on the Bluhm Family Terrace.
14 hours 50 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago COMING SOON—Provoke: Photography in Japan between Protest and Performance, 1960–75
The short-lived Tokyo magazine Provoke is now recognized as a major achievement in world photography of the last 50 years. A major international traveling show, which has Chicago as its only North American venue, this exhibition is the first survey of postwar Japanese art to be organized at the Art Institute and draws heavily on the the museum’s collection—more than 60% of the over 200 items on display belong to the Art Institute.
OPENING JANUARY 28—http://bit.ly/2jMlnUx
18 hours 2 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW ON VIEW—The Italian–born American artist Josef Stella revisited his native Italy in 1922, where he became fascinated by Renaissance painting. Drawing inspiration from Sandro Botticelli, Stella began to produce decorative, detailed, symbolic compositions, such as A Vision (seen here). Stella was enthralled by the tropical plants he observed at the Bronx Botanical Garden in New York, and he imagined an iconic woman growing out of the earth like the towering flowers on either side of her.
The French–born American artist Gaston Lachaise found his own iconic inspiration for the sculpture, Woman (Elevation), in Isabel Dutaud Nagle, whom he later married, telling her, “I want to create a miracle with it… as great as you.” This sculpture represents Lachaise’s first full-scale expression of the idealized female form that would come to dominate his art. Modernists like Lachaise believed preclassical art possessed a primitive vitality absent from later art forms.
See Josef Stella’s A Vision (1925/26) and Gaston Lachaise’s Woman (Elevation) (1912–15; cast 1927)—on view in Gallery 271.
1 day 14 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—Rodney McMillian: a great society
Our latest exhibition in the Modern Wing represents the last decade of the artist’s work in video. Grappling with the complexities of class, race, and place in America, Rodney McMillian employs elements of performance, public speaking, oral history—and his interest in the science fiction genre—to expose the social and psychological consequences of economic inequality, endemic racism, and the failed promise of freedom and prosperity for all of its citizens. While McMillian's work engages the often stark realities of history and contemporary culture, it is motivated by the potential for alternative realities and future transformation.
See Rodney McMillian: a great society on view in the Modern Wing through March 26.