A titled with text overlay, Franz West Stonehenge, 2011 Epoxy resin, fiberglass, and lacquer
Part I: 132 x 16 x 20 1/8 inches 335.3 x 40.6 x 51.1 cm
Part II: 135 3/8 x 109 1/2 x 23 5/8 inches 343.9 x 278.1 x 60 cm
Part III: 133 1/8 x 35 3/8 x 23 6/8 inches 338.1 x 88.9 x 60.3 cm.
“I face the world and I respond to its demands the best I can. That’s the way I work—not constructive but responsive, as they say.” 
 

—Franz West, 1994

A sculpture by Franz West, titled Stonehenge, dated 2011.

Franz West

Stonehenge, 2011
Epoxy resin, fiberglass, and lacquer
Part I: 132 x 16 x 20 1/8 inches (335.3 x 40.6 x 51.1 cm)
Part II: 135 3/8 x 109 1/2 x 23 5/8 inches (343.9 x 278.1 x 60 cm)
Part III: 133 1/8 x 35 3/8 x 23 6/8 inches (338.1 x 88.9 x 60.3 cm)

We are pleased to present Stonehenge (2011) by Franz West. This major work stands more than eleven feet tall, terminating in beam-like forms that mimic the post and lintel composition of the ancient monument after which it is named. 

Emerging in the early 1970s, the Austrian-born artist Franz West (1947–2012) developed a unique aesthetic that engaged equally high and low reference points and often privileged social interaction as an intrinsic component of his work, calling attention to the larger context of the exhibition and the way in which viewers interact with works of art and with each other.

Franz West, 2009. Photo by Markus Rössle, 2009/Franz West Foundation

Franz West, 2009. Photo by Markus Rössle. © Markus Rössle, 2009

Franz West, 2009. Photo by Markus Rössle. © Markus Rössle, 2009

Named after the prehistoric monument in England which is thought to be a site of communal gathering and worship, West’s Stonehenge transfigures an ancient form as well as a site of human ritual.

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK.

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK

“[This] millennia-old place of worship, which was also used for astronomical calculations, is actually an early applied sculpture and at the same time a multi-dimensional occupation of space.”
 

—Franz West, 2011

Franz West Eo Ipso 1987 (in the artist’s studio).

Franz West in his studio with Eo Ipso, 1987. MAK – Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst /Gegenwartskunst, Vienna

Franz West in his studio with Eo Ipso, 1987. MAK – Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst /Gegenwartskunst, Vienna

While West’s early Passstücke (small sculptures that people could touch and play with) had often incorporated interactive elements as a means of subverting traditional exhibition models, beginning in the late 1980s, furniture sculptures allowed the artist to introduce a space for visitors to rest and reflect on the artwork and their experience of it, thus privileging social interaction as a central component of his work.

A Franz West, Test, 1994.

Franz West, Test, 1994, installed at Art Basel Unlimited, 2019

Franz West, Test, 1994, installed at Art Basel Unlimited, 2019

In the late 1990s, West began to produce colorful, lacquered outdoor sculptures. Using bright, monochromatic colors, West painted the sculptures in hues that intentionally contrast with those in nature and that produce a jarring but playful tension with their context. Characterized by ellipsoid, phallic, and biomorphic forms, these large, crudely fashioned sculptures were often intended for visitors to sit on or interact with in a manner of their choosing.

Franz West with one of his his sculptures, titled “Ergebnis,” 2008.

Franz West with Ergebnis, 2008

Franz West with Ergebnis, 2008

Franz West, Rrose/Drama 2001. Telenor Art Collection.

Franz West, Rrose/Drama, 2001, installed as part of the artist's retrospective at Tate Modern, 2019

Franz West, Rrose/Drama, 2001, installed as part of the artist's retrospective at Tate Modern, 2019

Franz West, Eidos, [date], 54th Venice Biennale

Franz West, Eidos, 2009, installed at the 54th Venice Biennale, 2011

Franz West, Eidos, 2009, installed at the 54th Venice Biennale, 2011

Sitzwuste (Seating Masses) (2000), installed in Franz West: Die Aluskulptur, Schlosspark Ambras, Innsbruck, Austria, 2000.

Franz West, Sitzwuste (Seating Masses), 2000, installed at the Schlosspark Ambras, Innsbruck, Austria, 2000

Franz West, Sitzwuste (Seating Masses), 2000, installed at the Schlosspark Ambras, Innsbruck, Austria, 2000

“A noteworthy aspect of these sculptures was their coloring—lurid pinks and purples, yellows and blues….West deliberately didn’t want his colors to blend in with the natural surroundings (as traditional stone or bronze pieces would), but to ‘insult’ nature with their brightness. And here again he was echoing an observation he had made very early on: if you deliberately try to produce something ugly ... after a while it might tip toward the subtly beautiful.” 

 

—Eva Badura-Triska, 2016

A detail of a sculpture by Franz West, titled Stonehenge, dated 2011.

Franz West, Stonehenge, 2011

Franz West, Stonehenge, 2011

Franz West Corona 2006.

Franz West, Corona, 2006, installed at Lake Zurich. Photo by Stefan Altenburger Photography

Franz West, Corona, 2006, installed at Lake Zurich. Photo by Stefan Altenburger Photography

Franz West, The Ego and the Id, 2008.
Franz West, The Ego and the Id, 2008, installed by Public Art Fund at Central Park, New York, 2009
Franz West, The Ego and the Id, 2008, installed by Public Art Fund at Central Park, New York, 2009
“Sitting had always played an important role in West's understanding of art and daily life.… As an adult, West's ideas were formed largely in the sitting position, reading, listening to music, eating, talking, shitting, and watching television…. West's art, however, succeeds at making the act weirdly dramatic and fun…. Sitting is, after all, a statement made with one's posterior, a matter commonly ignored but flagrantly embraced by West.” 
 

—Darsie Alexander, 2008

A detail of a sculpture by Franz West, titled Stonehenge, dated 2011

Franz West, Stonehenge, 2011 (detail)

Franz West, Stonehenge, 2011 (detail)

A detail of a sculpture by Franz West, titled Stonehenge, dated 2011

Franz West, Stonehenge, 2011

Franz West, Stonehenge, 2011

Stonehenge adopts a winking posture toward notions of monumentality. Here, the monochromatic tentacles of the sculpture wind upwards more than eleven feet in the air, terminating in beam-like forms that mimic the post and lintel composition of the rocks. Stools that hook outwards from the base of the sculpture again provide a place for visitors to sit and contemplate.

An Installation view of a sculpture by Franz West, titled Stonehenge, at the Hepworth Wakefield in 2014.

 Installation view, Franz West: Where Is My Eight? with Stonehenge seen at left, Hepworth Wakefield, 2014

 Installation view, Franz West: Where Is My Eight? with Stonehenge seen at left, Hepworth Wakefield, 2014

“West’s recent abstract, painted … sculptures—successors to his coarse but fragile, galumphing forms in papier-mâché—may be the most energetic and affable art for public spaces since Alexander Calder.” 
 

Peter Schjeldahl, 2008

Inquire about works by Franz West

    Read More Read Less

      Read More Read Less

          Inquire

          To learn more about this artwork, please provide your contact information.

          By sharing your details you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.
          This site is also protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

          Inquire

          To learn more about available works, please provide your contact information

          By sharing your details you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.This site is also
          protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.