Ironic, irreverent, yet profoundly philosophical, Franz West was a key figure of European art in the late 20th century
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.
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.