I'm searching for his curriculum vitae, his background, his philosophy. But he's a mysterious man, there's nothing much out there. I know that he's German, born in 1963 and had his first show in 1997 (I think). But his jewelry education and early work is mostly lost to time.
I'm intrigued by his celebrity, the number of galleries who seem to be impressed with his work, the respect he seems to garner. And I wonder... if a metal clay artist made items exactly like this what would the world think?
I'm pretty sure the "traditional jewelry community" would regard them as crass crafters, talentless hacks and lazy technicians. For goodness sakes the jewels are GLUED in place, there are visible fingerprints, edges are ragged and the construction is just plain sloppy.
And yet Mr Fritsch's work demands high prices. And so I wonder - when does seemingly poor craftsmanship become kitch or innovative or ground breaking? Is intention such an important component in creation that it overrides common sense? Or is the art world sometimes just a little too impressed with itself, reaching to find the beauty in ugliness.
And yet I do see beauty in some of his designs. And the designs of the following artists. What is it that separates them? Popularity? Good press? Celebrity? A degree? A political opinion they feel compelled to state?
Metal Clay ring by Anne Dinan
Metal And Polymer Clay ring by Sous la Mansarde
At first glance work like this seems less than stellar, but upon closer examination there is something I find intriguingly attractive. Something that makes me think. And isn't that what "art" is ultimately supposed to do? Touch us in a way that opens our minds to the unexpected?
Metal Clay ring by Sister Wicked
Metal Clay Pebble Ring by Amy Honeybee