The Austrian sculptor Franz West, born in 1947, has conceived his first retrospective as a very big "anti-exhibition." The show consists in a display of main sculptural and painterly works since 1979, but it appears to the viewer as a kind of storage in a furniture shop of homeless people.
You have to walk around for some minutes to recognize that you are confronted to a very sensitive and original installation work. West did not like Joseph Beuys when he met him at the end of the 70ies in Vienna, but he understood the lesson of Joseph Beuys' sense of sculptural work in space better than most artists of his generation.
The exhibition appears like one big installation-collage, formed by fifteen sculpture-installations which are placed in a very calculated system of relations between each other. West's early "Passtuecke" and the signature-pieces from 1979 open up to the big room-installations of the last two years, with a remarkable continuity in West's unique way of dealing with materials (which comes from his past as an 'homeless-artist' in 70ies Vienna).
But the main thing in the exhibition is that every sculptural work is a reflection about different problems in philosophy. Dealing with philosophy in art was until now linked with the use of language. The sculptural work of Franz West is perhaps opening a new way of dealing with philosophy in the art field without the use of words or allegories. This could be, seen through this first retrospective, the main issue of West's work.
The show goes to Kunsthalle Basel (6/9-8/25)
Prague and Lodz (1997).
Other major exhibition in Vienna:
Chris BURDEN, MAK-Museum fuer angewandte Kunst, until August 8 (first museum retrospective in Europe, with a big installation, "The flying steamroller")
let's stress a little bit more the poor homeless image of Franz West and collect some money for his next anti-museum show (I feel like he needs it)
sorry to miss the west show. i will be in vienna the second week in june. any other shows to recommend, aside from c. burden? thanks