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DOUBLE LIFE: A PROJECT BY KATHARINA FRITSCH

IMAGINE THAT THE SUN IS A GIANT FLUORESCENT BULB. Now imagine that it’s twilight, and you will have a sense of the eerie acidic crepuscule that seems to both illuminate and shadow Katharina Fritsch’s work wherever it happens to be. This effect was particularly salient and unnerving at the artist’s recent retrospective in the bright galleries of the Kunsthaus Zürich, where her sculptures and paintings appeared not to be lit from above but to emanate their own oddly tenebrous glow. One sensed they could change the weather.

Usually we talk about the way a sculpture is illuminated rather than the light it seems to emit. The latter capacity is more generally considered the province of painting, where the combination of colors and the way they are applied generate a particular luminescence more readily than does something as obdurately physical as carved stone, welded metal, or cast polyester or

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