This Austrian artist is considered one of the most important postwar-artists

Franz West - Drama (Modell), 2001 at Kunsthaus Bregenz
Franz West – Drama (Modell), 2001, 450 x 681 x 899 cm, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria
Photo: apa/Rudolf Sagmeister/kunsthaus-bregenz.at

The Austrian Franz West (1947-2012), one of the most important postwar-artists, died less than two weeks ago. His work has been repeatedly exhibited at documenta, the Venice Biennale and in 2011 was awarded the Golden Lion at the Biennale di Venezia in recognition for his life’s work.

Internationally he got famous through participating at the Documenta IX in 1992: Several of his art pieces were distributed around the area and served as chairs and sofas. Due to their affordable price they quickly spread within the art world and finally became a mass-product. Though not appreciated by everybody, it made West’s approach to art clear: Creating usuable art. In an interview with Robert Fleck he also said “Best of all I like art in the streets; it doesn’t demand that you make a special journey to see it, it’s simply there. You don’t even have to look at it – that is probably the ideal art.”

In the 1970s West created Adaptives, small, portable sculptures. The following large artworks, made from plaster and gauze and painted with dispersion paint (see below) are directly based on them.

Franz West - Gekröse, 2011
Franz West – Gekröse, 2011
Photo: Art Basel/artbasel.com

This sculpture, Gekröse, 2011, was one of the most dominant pieces shown at the Art Basel Art Unlimited last year by Gagosian Gallery. It was West’s largest outdoor sculpture and sold for a seven digit figure a few hours after the opening.

franz-west-baltimore-museum-of-art-the-ego-and-the-id-2008
Franz West – The Ego and the Id, 2008
Photo: Mitro Hood/artbma.org

The Ego and the Id, 2008, a 20 feet high aluminum sculpture was installed at the Franz West retrospective at the Baltimore Museum of Art. It featured chairs that were built into the artwork and invited viewers to interact with it. The title of the art piece is a reference to one of Sigmund Freud’s most famous texts in which he describes the Id, ego and super-ego as the three parts of the psychic apparatus.

Franz West - The Ego and the ID, 2008, NYC
Franz West – The Ego and the Id, 2008, installed at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza in Central Park in 2009
Photo: Marilynn K. Yee/nytimes.com

Afterwards, the same sculpture previously shown in Baltimore got exhibited at the Doris Freedman Plaza in Central Park and was on display until March 2010 while some of his smaller sculptures could be seen at the MOMA.

franz-west-museum-ludwig-ergebnis-2008
Franz West – Ergebnis, 2008, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany
Photo: Museum Ludwig/museum-ludwig.de

Franz West - Room in Vienna, 2010
Franz West – Room in Vienna, 2010, Lacquered Aluminium, in three parts, 300 x 125 x 125 cm (pink), 370 x 500 x 250 cm (orange), 510 x 270 x 200 cm (blue)
Photo: Österreichische Galerie Belvedere/belvedere.at

Franz West - Room in Vienna, 2010
Franz West – Room in Vienna, 2010, Lacquered Aluminium, in three parts, 300 x 125 x 125 cm (pink), 370 x 500 x 250 cm (orange), 510 x 270 x 200 cm (blue)
Photo: Österreichische Galerie Belvedere/belvedere.at

franz-west-lying-not-2008-gagosian-new-work-art-basel-miami-beach-art-projects-2009
Franz West – Lying Not, 2008 for Gagosian New York at Art Basel Miami Beach Art Projects, 2009
Photo: Gagosian/gagosian.com

Franz West - Les Pommes D’Adam, 2007
Franz West – Les Pommes D’Adam, 2007, Epoxy, metal, paint and concrete, dimensions vary with installation
Photo: Hall Art Foundation/hallartfoundation.org

Franz West - Kugel, 2006, Photo Jon Benjamin Tallerås
Franz West – Kugel, 2006, lacquered aluminium, diameter: 180 cm
Photo: Jon Benjamin Tallerås/sculpturenature.com

Franz West - Omega, 2008, Meeting Point, 2010 - Cour de Bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris (BHVP)
Franz West – Omega, 2008, Meeting Point, 2010 – Cour de Bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris (BHVP)
Photo: Philippe Migeat/sculpturenature.com

Franz West - Rose:Drama, 2001, Beaubourg, Centre Georges-Pompidou, Paris, France
Franz West – Rose/Drama, 2001, Lacquered aluminium, Beaubourg, Centre Georges-Pompidou, Paris, France
Photo: DR/tate.org.uk

Franz West - Drama and Kantine, 2001/2002
Franz West – Drama and Kantine, Merciless exhibition at MAK, Vienna, Austria, 2001/2002
Photo: Peter Noever/noever-design.com

Franz West - The Unconscious Sculpture
Franz West – The Unconscious Sculpture, 2010, lacquered aluminum, 18 foot, Wilshire, Beverly Hills, CA

Franz West - Untitled, 2012
Franz West – Untitled, 2012, MUMOK Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna, Austria

Franz West - Gartenpouf, 2007
Franz West, Gartenpouf, 2007, styrofoam, epoxy resin and synthetic resin varnish, 290 x 160 x 160 cm

Franz West portrait
Franz West with Ergebnis, 2008
Photo: APA/Belvedere Wien/diepresse.com

Franz West - Man with a Ball
Franz West – Installation view of Man with a Ball, Gagosian London, 2012
Photo: Mike Bruce/gagosian.com

Franz West - Man with a Ball
Franz West – Installation view of Man with a Ball, Gagosian London, 2012
Photo: Mike Bruce/gagosian.com

Franz West - Ein Hod, 2010
Franz West – Ein Hod, 2010, Epoxyd, lacquered, 450 x 220 x 220 cm, Installation at Kunsthaus Graz, Austria, 2010
Photo: UMJ/N. Lackner/museum-joanneum.at

 Franz West- Epiphanie an Stühlen ,2011
Franz West – Epiphanie an Stühlen, 2011, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zürich
Photo: Michaela Obermair

Franz West - Ohne Titel, 2012
Franz West – Ohne Titel, 2012, Completion posthumously, Installation view at MMK Frankfurt, Germany
Photo: Axel Schneider/mmk.art

Franz West - Schlieren, 2010
Franz West – Schlieren, 2010, lacquered epoxy resin, 230 x 680 x 235 cm (90 5/8 x 267 11/16 x 92 1/2 in), installation view, Suvikunta, Sarvisalo, Finland
Photo: David Bebber/zabludowiczcollection.com

Franz West - Schlieren (Smears), 2010
Franz West – Schlieren (Smears), 2010, lacquered epoxy resin, 230 x 680 x 235 cm (90 5/8 x 267 11/16 x 92 1/2 in), installation view, 2010 at Tate Liverpool, UK

Franz West - Lips, 2012
Franz West – Lips, 2012, aluminum, epoxy resin, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Photo: Jason Wierzbicki/philamuseum.org

All images: Franz West Privatstiftung/franzwest.at unless otherwise noted.

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