Katharina Fritsch had her first one-person exhibition in the United States in 1993, at the Dia Center for the Arts. There she debuted Rattenkönig (Rat king), her work in which 12-foot-tall black rodents face outward in a circle, towering over the viewer, their tails bound together in a giant knot. Like all Fritsch's work, Rattenkönig is simultaneously seductive and unnerving. She often transforms quotidian objects or ordinary looking figures into something new and strange through repetition and manipulation of scale and color. Her sculptures are the result of a time-consuming process: a piece is usually molded by hand, then cast in plaster, reworked, and then cast again in polyester.
Fritsch was born in Essen, Germany, in 1956. She represented Germany in the 1995 Venice Biennale and has had one-person exhibitions at the Kunstmuseum, Basel; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate Modern, London; and K21, Düsseldorf. A retrospective exhibition of Fritsch’s work was held in 2009 at the Kunstmuseum Zürich which traveled to the Deichtorhallen Hamburg. Most recently, the city of London and The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts commissioned Fritsch to build a sculpture “Hahn / Cock” to be displayed on the fourth plinth in the northwest corner of Trafalgar Square. Fritsch has been represented by Matthew Marks Gallery since 1994. She lives and works in Düsseldorf.