Franz West was born in Austria in 1947 and died in his native country in 2012. He studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna and became a sculptor and installation artist, part of the Actionist and Performance Art Mouvement in the sixties and seventies.
BEAKING THE RULES
The sculptures known as ‘Adaptives’, began in the seventies and are considered his first significant works as humorously indeterminate objects. They are both artful sculptures and tactile gadgets, with their artistic function considered completed only once viewers have interacted with it. It is to say they needed to be touched, hold, worn or played with. With this unique approach he is one of the first artists to break the established codes between the artworks and the spectator.
West, whose Art was influenced by his interest in psychoanalytic texts, describes his ‘Adaptives’ as prostheses, a term that alludes to their incomplete status as well as their connection to the body. Since then, he deeply explored sculpture in all its aspects, but mostly the communication created, all the actions and the reactions they can provoke to its audience members.
FROM INTERACTION TO FURNITURE
West garnered attention from the larger public in the mid-eighties, when he began producing furniture. He often crafted chairs and couches by welding together pieces of scrap metal, a technique that reflects his interest in collage. Additionally, West creates colorful, upholstered furniture.
West’s works have been exhibited throughout the world for more than 30 years and at a variety of venues, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitechapel Gallery in London, the Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna, the Gagosian Gallery in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museo Tamayo in Mexico. He also took part in several Documenta and Biennales all around the world and is now in many museum’s permanent collections such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the MoMA in New York and MAXXI in Rome. To conclude, West received the ‘Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement’ at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011 and remain at the pantheon of the greatest artist of his generation.