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.
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.
Photo: Mitro Hood/Baltimore Museum of Art)
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.
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.
(photo: Museum Ludwig)
Ergebnis, 2008 at Museum Ludwig
Lying Not, 2008 for Gagosian New York at Art Basel Miami Beach Art Projects, 2009
Installation view at Gagosian Rome, 2010