West started his artistic work within the milieu of the Viennese art scene, then characterized by its ‘actionist’ movement, whose interest in physicality and the psychological aspects of experiencing art West inherited and continued to develop in different directions. At the same time, he clearly turned away from actionism by superseding its seriousness and aggressiveness with an attitude of ironic distance. Yet, what determines West’s approach even more is the fact that over the years, he has incessantly examined, expanded and irrevocably changed the notion of sculpture.Read More
The “Passstücke” (Adaptives), which West first showed in 1980, laid the foundation for the sculpture as an object of participation. In fact, West’s sculptures are in no way independent, finished works. It is only through interacting with the viewer that a sculpture finds its completion and fulfills its potential. This interaction may take place both on a physical and intellectual level. The idea of actually ‘using’ the works of art, first expressed in the “Passstücke”, was further developed in the furniture that West began to produce in the 1980s. What is to be worked out, in the case of the former, by means of absurd gestures and improvised flows of movement, can be achieved with the latter by taking a break and reflecting (up)on the pieces of furniture. The objects, which Franz West describes as “legitimate sculptures”, reach their completion through the exploration of ideas and chains of associations that are triggered in the visitor’s mind the instant he is looking at them.
Text courtesy Galerie Eva Presenhuber.
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