Born in 1947 in Vienna, Franz West belongs to a generation of artists strongly influenced by Viennese Actionism and the Performance Art of the 1960s and 70s. His early work is characterised by an interest in painting and collage, but West is known above all for his sculptures and installations, which have a strong performative and interactive element. In 1974, he created his “Paßstücke (Adaptives)”, small sculptures made with papier-mâché, which can be taken, worn and used by the viewers. West’s sculptures are a response to the mechanism of action and reaction that lies at the heart of the relationship between spectator and object. Even when, during the 1980s, the artist created large-scale sculptures made with more resistant materials such as polyester or aluminium, his anthropomorphic but abstract forms recall light and manipulable compositions. Working on the relationship between what we see and how we physically perceive, Franz West’s work is influenced by Lacan’s psycholanalytical tests and Wittgenstein’s philosophy, and explores the relationship between art and everyday life, questioning the traditional way of contemplating an artistic object.
Franz West has exhibited in over thirty years in different museums and galleries around the world. He participated in dOCUMENTA IX (1992), dOCUMENTA X (1997) and the Venice Biennale (1988, 1993, 1997, 2003). His first monographic exhibition was held at MOMA in New York (1997). Franz West’s works have been shown at Palazzo Grassi in the exhibition “Sequence 1” (2007) and “Mapping the studio” (2010) and at Punta della Dogana in the exhibition “Accrochage” (2016).