SAATCHI GALLEY 27.4.11
This striking installation makes an impact as soon as you walk into the gallery. The small figure of a child with a perky pigtail, which echoes the curve of the wolf’s back, stares warily ahead unaware of the shadow behind her. Black-and-white is satisfyingly minimalist, sharp and clear, yet intriguing.
'My sculptures can never be totally grasped, like a picture that has something unresolved about it. They stay in your head like an enigma… It's simply a recognition of the fact that life is ambivalent’. This quotation from the German artist Katherina Fritsch about her own work, has some resonance with what Yasman Sasmazer is doing in The Treacherous Wolf.
In myths and legends and fairy tales the child is usually seen as precious and sacred, a tabula rasa, free of social conditioning. But wolves are in a rather different category and certainly up to no good. This one is poised for action, back arched, ears pricked, jaw no doubt full of angry teeth. And look at those legs - they could leap over mountains. But child and wolf are inseparable, joined interestingly enough at the heel. Again this draws on a rich mythology. Heels are where you are vulnerable – think of Achilles’ downfall.
And the third element is the shadow, believed by some to be those parts of oneself you haven’t brought into your consciousness. Although it has a kind of threatening autonomy, you can’t be truly human without it and if lost it has to be sewn or glued back (as in Peter Pan) onto the heel .
The installation is unsettling, but the way it manages to embrace myth, cultural history and everyday life transforms it into something open and mysterious.
P.S. Fritsch has been chosen as the next artist to have her work installed on Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth.