Installation view of the exhibition Franz West, at David Zwirner London, dated February 21 through April 5, 2019.

Franz West

David Zwirner London is pleased to present an exhibition of sculptures and works on paper from 1972 to 2004 by Austrian artist Franz West (1947–2012). Spanning his more than four-decade-long career, the exhibition offers an overview of the artist’s singular and influential body of work, and, in particular, his radical repositioning of traditional notions of sculpture.

Emerging in Vienna in the early 1970s, West developed a unique aesthetic that engaged equally high and low reference points and often privileged social interaction as an intrinsic component of his work. By playfully manipulating everyday materials and imagery in novel ways, he created objects that served to redefine art as a social experience, calling attention to the ways in which art is presented to the public, and how viewers interact with works of art and with each other.

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Image: Installation view, Franz West, David Zwirner, London, 2019

Dates
February 21April 5, 2019
Private View
Wednesday, February 20, 6–8 PM
Artist
Installation view of the exhibition Franz West, at David Zwirner London, dated February 21 through April 5, 2019.

"His dialectical work constantly blurred the boundaries between art and life at its most basic; shifting repeatedly between popular and cultivated, active and contemplative, individual and collective, corporeal and intellectual, or between art and artisanship. West’s complex character—at once profoundly individual and skeptical, yet constantly engaged in dialogue and exchange, marked by a taste for play and sarcasm—was expressed in a unique body of work capable of ‘digesting’ and going beyond all his influences." —Christine Macel, "Franz West: La grande digestion," in Franz West, 2018

Image: Installation view, Franz West, David Zwirner, London, 2019

"The Passstücke represent a new aesthetic that eschews all ideas of perfection or beauty in favour of the dirty, the wonky and even the deceptive. Despite this anti-aesthetic intention in which the ‘ugly’ ends up producing a feeling of attraction—a reversal at which West always excelled—their haptic nature encourages grasping, engendering gestures that are sometimes awkward or grotesque, far from any notion of perfection." —Christine Macel, "Franz West: La grande digestion," in Franz West, 2018

A sculpture by Franz West, titled Passstück (Adaptive), dated 1989.

Franz West

Passstück (Adaptive), 1989
Cast aluminum and plaster
21 1/2 x 17 3/4 x 6 3/4 inches (54.6 x 45.1 x 17.1 cm)
Viewer interacting with Franz West, BI 11, 1990
Viewer interacting with Franz West, BI 11, 1990

"The idea was more to create an environment, and that the Adaptive could be handled and used rather than be looked at. For the romantics like Schlegel and the German philosophers, what makes art and painting special is that neither should be touched. With the Adaptives, the opposite is true....I liked the idea that in picking up one of the Adaptives there is a moment of not knowing what to do next, a moment of not knowing what to do with the audience. You make unplanned actions and gestures with the audience looking at you, and you wonder what you are doing with this. So the gestures become a little like art. Beuys during this period was making big pronouncements that ‘every man is an artist’ or at least that, in its modified form, ‘every man has the potential to be an artist’. So unlike, say, a white sculpture by Hans Arp that you look at, with the Adaptives, you could pick it up and walk around the museum." —Franz West in conversation with Tom Eccles in Art Review, 2012

"[For the Legitimate Sculptures] West took to papier-mâché, seeing in it not only a very cheap resource that he could exploit while funds were scarce, but as a low material, sneered at by the American minimalists, pop artists and anyone working within the legacies of the Duchampian readymade, and associated, then as now, with the kindergarten. The Legitimate Sculptures were mostly formed from this most illegitimate material." —Mark Godfrey, "Attitudes and Forms: Franz West After 1987," in Franz West, 2018

A sculpture by Franz West, titled Symbol, dated 1999.

Franz West

Symbol, 1999
Papier-mâché, paint, plaster, plastic, polyester, cardboard, gauze, and metal in three (3) parts with artist's wooden pedestals
Red: 66 1/4 x 21 1/2 x 24 inches (168.3 x 54.6 x 61 cm) Brown: 54 x 20 1/2 x 21 1/2 inches (137.2 x 52.1 x 54.6 cm) Pink: 56 1/2 x 20 1/2 x 15 3/4 inches (143.5 x 52.1 x 40 cm)
A sculpture by Franz West, titled Sisyphos I, dated 2002.

Franz West

Sisyphos I, 2002
Papier-mâché, polystyrene, cardboard, varnish, acrylic, and paint can
61 x 54 x 57 inches (154.9 x 137.2 x 144.8 cm)

"West was not initially confident about how to colour sculpture and in his later Passstücke he sometimes asked painter-friends to embellish the usually white forms. ...When West chose his own colours they were often laden with associations.…[his] sense for colour shifted as he started to paint his own works and, by the mid-1990s, most of the papier-mâché were riotously polychromatic. He would go to art supply shops and select the ready-mixed paints that painters working nearby had ordered and then rejected. When he brought the pots back to the studio, he would pour and paint pretty indiscriminately, turning the object over in the process. Photographs and films capture him with a telephone in one hand and a long brush in the other, painting away in a state of productive distraction, but somehow achieving a mess of colour that felt just right." —Mark Godfrey, "Attitudes and Forms: Franz West After 1987," in Franz West, 2018

A sculpture by Franz West, titled Three Times the Same, dated 1998.

Franz West

Three Times the Same, 1998
Papier-mâché, paint, plastic, gauze and wood on three (3) white pedestals
Left: 22 1/4 x 16 1/4 x 16 inches (56.5 x 41.3 x 40.6 cm) Middle: 32 3/4 x 12 1/2 x 12 inches (83.2 x 31.8 x 30.5 cm) Right: 25 x 16 x 12 1/4 inches (63.5 x 40.6 x 31.1 cm)
A sculpture by Franz West, titled Sisyphos I, dated 2002.

Franz West

Sisyphos I, 2002
Papier-mâché, polystyrene, cardboard, varnish, acrylic, and paint can
61 x 54 x 57 inches (154.9 x 137.2 x 144.8 cm)
A sculpture by Franz West, titled Syntagma (Arrangement), dated 1998.

Franz West

Syntagma (Arrangement), 1998
Papier-mâché, wood, gauze, plaster, and paint in two (2) parts on artist's wooden pedestals
Left sculpture: 19 3/4 x 14 x 6 inches (50.2 x 35.6 x 15.2 cm) Left pedestal: 37 1/8 x 19 7/8 x 9 5/8 inches (94.3 x 50.5 x 24.4 cm) Right sculpture: 17 1/2 x 11 1/4 x 11 inches (44.5 x 28.6 x 27.9 cm) Right pedestal: 45 1/8 x 15 x 15 1/4 inches (114.6 x 38.1 x 38.7 cm)
A collage by Franz West, titled Vorm Abendbrot (Before Supper), dated 1997.

Franz West

Vorm Abendbrot (Before Supper), 1997
Paint, wax, and collage on paper in artist's frame
42 x 56 1/2 inches (106.7 x 143.5 cm)
A sculpture by Franz West, titled Das linke Horn Moses (Moses's Left Horn), dated 2004.

Franz West

Das linke Horn Moses (Moses's Left Horn), 2004
Papier-mâché, acrylic, woven basket, Styrofoam, cardstock, lacquer, glass, metal, and paintbrush
70 x 63 1/2 x 54 inches (177.8 x 161.3 x 137.2 cm)
A sculpture by Franz West, titled Symbol, dated 1999.

Franz West

Symbol, 1999
Papier-mâché, paint, plaster, plastic, polyester, cardboard, gauze, and metal in three (3) parts with artist's wooden pedestals
Red: 66 1/4 x 21 1/2 x 24 inches (168.3 x 54.6 x 61 cm) Brown: 54 x 20 1/2 x 21 1/2 inches (137.2 x 52.1 x 54.6 cm) Pink: 56 1/2 x 20 1/2 x 15 3/4 inches (143.5 x 52.1 x 40 cm)
A sculpture by Franz West, titled Pleonasme (Pleonasm), dated 1999.

Franz West

Pleonasme (Pleonasm), 1999
Papier-mâché, plastic, plaster, glue, paint, foam, cardboard, styrofoam, plastic vacuum nozzle, bubble wrap, wood, and metal
Sculpture: 42 x 28 1/2 x 29 inches (106.7 x 72.4 x 73.7 cm) Table: 32 1/4 x 40 1/2 x 31 3/4 inches (81.9 x 102.9 x 80.6 cm)
A sculpture by Franz West, titled Dortmund und Gmünd (Die Visualisierte Rhythmik)  (Dortmund and Gmünd [The Visualized Rhythm]), dated 1993 and 2000.

Franz West

Dortmund und Gmünd (Die Visualisierte Rhythmik) (Dortmund and Gmünd [The Visualized Rhythm]), 1993/2000
Plaster, plastic, cardboard, gauze, dispersion, and two (2) wooden cabinets with one (1) silkscreen print by Roland Göschl
Dortmund: 15 3/4 x 15 3/4 x 15 3/4 inches (40 x 40 x 40 cm) Left cabinet: 63 x 43 1/4 x 22 1/2 inches (160 x 109.9 x 57.2 cm) Framed print: 28 5/8 x 20 3/4 x 1 inches (72.7 x 52.7 x 2.5 cm) Gmünd: 17 11/16 x 14 15/16 x 6 5/8 inches (44.9 x 37.9 x 16.8 cm) Right cabinet: 53 3/4 x 41 x 15 5/8 inches (136.5 x 104.1 x 39.7 cm)
An untitled sculpture by Franz West, dated 1982 and1983.

Franz West

Untitled, 1982/1983
Metal, gauze, plaster, and canvas
37 x 96 1/8 x 45 5/8 inches (94 x 244 x 116 cm)
A sculpture by Franz West, titled Liege (Chaise), dated 1989.

Franz West

Liege (Chaise), 1989
Metal
28 1/4 x 28 1/2 x 77 inches (71.8 x 72.4 x 195.6 cm)
A sculpture by Franz West, titled Paravent (Passstück) (Screen [Adaptive]), dated circa 1982.

Franz West

Paravent (Passstück) (Screen [Adaptive]), c. 1982
Papier-mâché, plaster, gauze, dispersion, wood, and iron
67 3/8 x 55 1/8 x 14 5/8 inches (171 x 140 x 37 cm)
A mixed media work by Franz West, titled Namensbild West (Nameplate West), dated 1975 to 1985.

Franz West

Namensbilder (Nameplates), 1975-1985
Papier-mâché and dispersion
4 3/4 x 5 1/8 x 1 1/8 inches (12 x 13 x 3 cm)
A sculpture by Franz West, titled BI 11, dated 1990.

Franz West

BI 11, 1990
Cast aluminum and plaster
15 x 33 x 8 1/2 inches (38.1 x 83.8 x 21.6 cm)
A sculpture by Franz West, titled Passstück (Adaptive), dated 1989.

Franz West

Passstück (Adaptive), 1989
Cast aluminum and plaster
21 1/2 x 17 3/4 x 6 3/4 inches (54.6 x 45.1 x 17.1 cm)
An untitled drawing by Franz West, dated 1972.

Franz West

Untitled, 1972
Watercolor and pencil on paper
5 7/8 x 8 1/4 inches (14.9 x 21 cm) Framed: 9 7/8 x 12 1/4 inches (25.1 x 31.1 cm)
An untitled drawing by Franz West, dated 1972.

Franz West

Untitled, 1972
Watercolor, marker, and pencil on paper
5 7/8 x 8 1/4 inches (14.9 x 21 cm) Framed: 9 7/8 x 12 1/4 inches (25.1 x 31.1 cm)
An untitled drawing by Franz West, dated 1972.

Franz West

Untitled, 1972
Mixed media on paper
5 3/8 x 8 1/8 inches (13.5 x 20.5 cm) Framed: 9 7/8 x 12 1/4 inches (25.1 x 31.1 cm)
A drawing by Franz West, titled Untitled (Chez Klimt), dated 1972.

Franz West

Untitled (Chez Klimt), 1972
Watercolor, gold paint, and marker on paper
6 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches (16.5 x 24.1 cm) Framed: 10 1/2 x 13 3/8 x 1 1/4 inches (26.7 x 34 x 3.2 cm)
An untitled sculpture by Franz West, dated 1991.

Franz West

Untitled, 1991
Papier-mâché, paint, plaster, polyester, and gauze
23 x 19 1/2 x 9 inches (58.4 x 49.5 x 22.9 cm)
A sculpture by Franz West, titled Vesuv (Vesuvius), dated 1987.

Franz West

Vesuv (Vesuvius), 1987
Papier-mâché, paint, and steel
83 3/8 x 55 1/8 x 26 inches (211.8 x 140 x 66 cm)
A collage by Franz West, titled In Swanns Welt (Swann's Way), dated 1983.

Franz West

In Swanns Welt (Swann's Way), 1983
Collage and newspaper on paper in artist's frame
20 3/4 x 26 5/8 inches (52.7 x 67.6 cm)
A collage by Franz West, titled Heisse Sally (Hot Sally), dated circa 1990.

Franz West

Heisse Sally (Hot Sally), c. 1990
Paint and collage
9 5/8 x 14 1/4 inches (24.4 x 36.2 cm) Framed: 20 1/2 x 22 3/4 inches (52.1 x 57.8 cm)
A drawing by Franz West, titled Untitled (Hippie Power), dated circa 1976.

Franz West

Untitled (Hippie Power), 1976
Paint on magazine advertisement
12 1/8 x 10 1/4 inches (30.8 x 26 cm) Framed: 16 1/8 x 14 1/8 inches (41 x 35.9 cm)
An untitled drawing by Franz West, dated circa 1977.

Franz West

Untitled, c. 1977
Paint on magazine advertisement
8 1/4 x 5 5/8 inches (21 x 14.3 cm) Framed: 12 1/4 x 9 3/4 inches (31.1 x 24.8 cm)

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