Opening on Saturday, October 26, the gallery will present an exhibition by the Austrian artist Franz West. This will be the artist's third exhibition at David Zwirner.
Franz West, who is now widely considered to be one of Europe's most important contemporary sculptors, has been showing steadily since the mid 1970s. Recently his works have reached a large international audience at "Documenta IX" in Kassel and at the 1995 Carnegie International in Pittsburgh. A comprehensive mid-career survey exhibition traveled from the Museum moderner Kunst, Vienna, to the Kunsthalle Basel; and is currently at the Rijksmuseum Kröller Müller in the Netherlands. In 1997, the artist will exhibit new works at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, as well as at the Museum of Modern Art here in New York.
Franz West has never limited himself to a specific medium or mode of expression in his work. Like other artists who have come of age during or after Conceptualism and Minimalism, he has embraced a variety of media -- from drawings to sculptures, to single-channel videos, to large-scale, room-size installations. However, two aspects of his oeuvre have been especially characteristic: his interest in the autonomous sculpture and his investigation in works of art that are interactive. Over the years he has continually blurred the dividing line between the work of art and everyday life. His "Paßstücke", white sculptures that can be taken off their pedestals and handled by the viewer, are now a part of art history; his trademark furniture has expanded our definition of contemporary sculpture.
The conceptual space which Franz West investigates is really the arena in which art is possible today. Art, the people who make it and the places it is shown in, have been a continuous point of departure for West's work. Free of any moral or political agenda, West's most powerful tools have been the poetic gesture and its effect on the psychology of the viewer. The ease with which he can unearth archetypal images out of abstract shapes, and his ability to create associations that range from the frivolous to the sublime, have made him an artist's artist.
For the exhibition Franz West will bring a range of recent work to the gallery: a large, three-part sculpture entitled "Limerick"; a group of "Paßstücke", which he is presenting as part of an installation; and "Curaçao", a work that combines a free-standing sculpture with a piece of furniture. Also on view will be a group of work entitled "Kassler Rippchen". This piece will showcase Franz West's interest in using the work of other contemporary artists in his own work. The installation, originally exhibited at the Kunstverein in Kassel, Germany, puts his own work in the context of work by other artists such as Martin Kippenberger, Kiki Smith, Heimo Zobernig, Albert Oehlen, and Jason Rhoades. This "opening up to other artist's ideas", as Franz West calls it, is challenging, both intellectually and aesthetically.