No pilgrimage to the Schaulager, Basel’s über art store, is complete without paying respect to Rattenkönig (Rat-King), Katharina Fritsch’s 1993 16-strong ring of gigantic rodents, who hold court in their own huge room. The artist recently told Isabel Zürcher the story behind the work of art in the magazine accompanying the Schaulager’s magnificent, collection-based show Future Present (until 31 January 2016). Fritsch drew inspiration from Grimms’ fairytales and also temples in India where rats are held sacred, she said. But the sculpture was mainly inspired by the German artist’s first visit to New York in the 1980s. It was a city of fear— “Aids had become a tragic reality, and the entire mood of the art world was subdued,” she recalls. “Everybody wore black leather,” and the blackened gargoyles on the city’s Gothic skycrapers also made a big impression. “I associated the city with the concept of the Moloch, the demon that devours people.” Rattenkönig now resides in a Herzog and de Meuron-designed white cube in the orderly suburbs of Basel, a million miles from Gotham back in the day, Fritsch admits, happy they’ve found an ideal home for perpetuity in the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation’s collection.