23. Rat King by Katharina Fritsch, 1993
Medium: Polyester and Paint
Katharina Fritsch debuted the 12-foot-tall black Rat King during her first solo exhibition at the Dia Center for the Arts in 1993. The sculpture is an exaggeration of the rat-king phenomenon where a group of rodents are bound inescapably together through the accidental knotting of their tails. The first recorded sightings of this unusual phenomenon are found in Northern European accounts dating from the Renaissance. Fritsch's work transforms ordinary, often autobiographical objects and figures by modifying color and scale; she shifts them from the objective to subjective, possibly commenting on mass-produced culture.