Ironic, irreverent, yet profoundly philosophical, Franz West was a key figure of European art in the late 20th century. Franz West by Tate Modern will be the first posthumous retrospective and the most comprehensive survey of the artist’s work ever staged in the UK.
Franz West (1947–2012) brought a punk aesthetic into the pristine spaces of art galleries. His abstract sculptures, furniture, collages, and large-scale works are direct, crude and unpretentious.
This ambitious exhibition will explore the irreverent sensibility and playful approach to materials, colour and form that characterise West’s punk aesthetic. Almost 200 works including abstract sculptures, furniture, collages and monumental outdoor works, will be brought together showing him as one of the most influential artists of the past 50 years. His friend and former collaborator Sarah Lucas will contribute to the exhibition by designing walls and pedestals, bringing her unique material language to the display of Franz West’s playful yet profoundly philosophical work.
Visitors to this major retrospective will be able to handle replicas of his Passstücke (Adaptives) – papier-mâché pieces made to be picked up and moved. They were a turning point in the relationship between art and its audience. He also created playful sculptures incorporating objects from everyday life such as a hat, a broom, or even a whisky bottle. In his final years, he produced large, brightly coloured and absurd sculptures both for galleries and public spaces.
Born and based in Vienna, West collaborated with numerous artists, musicians, writers, and photographers. He has been a vast influence on younger artists – his friend and collaborator Sarah Lucas has contributed to the design of the exhibition.
The exhibition is organised by Tate Modern and the Centre Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris.