Katharina Fritsch’s work has tremendous appeal to our sense of youth. Her large scale, brightly colored sculptures are simultaneously playful and terrifying, looming larger than life in a way reminiscent of the gargantuan landscape we navigated as small children. In fact, at her current exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago I observed a number of children running between her pieces with delight, shouting excitedly to one another as well as to their parents. It’s unsurprising, given the electric colors and the whimsical subject matter, that Fritsch would be popular with kids.
As adults, however, we sense something more sinister in Fritsch’s work. The same factors that made the twins in The Shining so very terrifying are at play here. The uneasy sense of repetition, the matte quality of the color, and the emotional blankness of the figures are very off-putting. One of Fritsch’s pieces, Monk, is placed at the end of a hallway, directly around a corner for some. Imagine how it feels to turn to your right and see this staring back at you:
I’ve watched enough bad horror movies (And episodes of Doctor Who, honestly) to know that this can mean nothing good. Continue reading