Franz West: New Sculptures and Installations - Press Release | April 21–May 22, 1999 | David Zwirner

Opening on Wednesday, April 21, the gallery will present an exhibition by the Austrian artist Franz West. This will be the artist's fourth exhibition at David Zwirner.

Franz West has been showing continuously since the mid-1970s. His works were included in large international exhibitions such at Documenta IX & X in Kassel; the Münster Skulptur Projekte; and at the last Venice Biennale. In 1997 his work was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and a midcareer survey is currently on exhibit at the Rooseum in Sweden. The artist was recently awarded the Wolfgang Hahn prize from the Museum Ludwig in Cologne.

For this exhibition the artist will bring to the gallery three small installations as well as a group of recent sculptures. One of the works, the "Internet Bed", is a large-scale sculpture, which enables the gallery viewers to access and browse the World Wide Web. The artist's current exhibition at the Rooseum can also be visited via the "Internet Bed", as well as the gallery's website, which is to premier in the first week of May.

Like other artists who have come of age after Conceptualism and Minimalism, Franz West has always worked and experimented with a variety of media–from drawings to sculptures, from 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 of interactive works of art. Over the years he has continually blurred the dividing line between the work of art and everyday life.

"Early on I realized that the purely visual experience of an artwork was somehow insufficient. I wanted to go beyond the purely optical and include tactical qualities as well. My works aren't things one just looks at, but things that the viewer is invited to handle. There have been many theories of art that try to break down the border between art and the world, but I don't find such attempts to be particularly meaningful. Art remains art. I really see my work as quite compatible with the l'art pour l'art philosophy. One may think that I try to bring the art object out into the world since my works sometimes appear to have a practical function, but really it's the other way around: things in the world can, under certain special circumstances, enter the realm of art. And, in fact, once they have entered this realm they are art."
–Franz West, 1998

The gallery is pleased to announce the publication of two new monographs devoted to the work of Franz West which will be available at the gallery: "Franz West", a Phaidon Press publication of 150 pages with over 200 full color and black-and-white illustrations, and texts by Bice Curiger, Robert Fleck, and Neal Benezra; and a catalogue accompanying the artist's exhibition at the Rooseum, with full color illustrations and an interview with the artist by Daniel Birnbaum.

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