Legend has it that Frederick II established the potato in Germany in the 18th century. In a dedicated campaign, he is said to have had soldiers distribute potatoes throughout the villages of Prussia in 1740, eventually successfully enforcing the cultivation of the potato in the Prussian provinces. Even today, potatoes are placed on Frederick II’s grave in Sanssouci to commemorate the introduction of the potato in Germany. Frederick II was the potato’s greatest and most successful German promotional ambassador. He promoted the introduction of the potato almost obsessively and made it the Germans‘ favorite food for a long time.
The work „Der Neue Fritz“ continues Frederick’s mission and translates the person of Fritz and his commitment to the potato into the present day to highlight new potentials of the potato. The artist takes the role of Frederick II. In the costume and staging, the aesthetics of the 18th century and contemporary fashions blur. The work is divided into three related parts: The central part is a large-format photograph showing the artist as Frederick II with his horse, in reference to the equestrian statue of Frederick the Great for the Forum Fridericianum. The second part is a DIY video showing the artist as Frederick making a potato starch-based jewelry necklace, which he in turn wears in the equestrian depiction. Finally, the third part of the work consists of the jewelry necklace itself. In addition to the elaborated self-determination and unconventionality, the work also explicitly elaborates the themes of gender identity, power, and expectations masculinity, alluding to recent historical debates surrounding Frederick’s identity.