Spiegel in Kabine mit Passtücken (Spiegel von Michelangelo Pistoletto), Franz West (1996) Image Via Museum Ludwig
Currently on view at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne is Auto-Theatre – the first major European retrospective of Franz West. For this exhibition, West himself grouped over 40 works in themed constellations allowing the visitor to experience the sheer complexity and singularity of his oeuvre. The title Autotheater (Auto-Theatre) points to the performative, interactive dimension of his work and included are the West’s earliest Adaptives (Passstücke) and collages from the 1970s, papier-mâché sculptures, furniture and site-specific installations, his picture walls from the Eighties and his latest sculptures for public spaces.
In 1974 West began to develop his famous portable sculptures called Adaptives (Passstücke). In Biology, adaption is a structure or form modified to fit a changing environment and in the 1970s, West attempted to bring this to his art works. The outcome of these experiments were small, portable sculptures called Adaptives (Passstücke) that were only completed as artworks when the viewer picked them up and carried them around, or performed some other action with them. This new, interactive approach left a lasting mark on the younger generations and new tendencies in the nineties, such as “Design Art” and “Relational Aesthetics”.
West has also extended this dialogue with the viewer to include his furniture sculptures, which he has produced since the mid-eighties. His colorful and comfortable furniture has transformed exhibition spaces in its invitation to visitors to use it and render the space habitable and sociable. In Ordinary Language, for example, visitors are invited to relax in the comfortable armchairs.
Since the nineties he has worked increasingly with others artists, such as for instance Michelangelo Pistoletto (Spiegel in Kabine mit Passstücken = Mirror in Cubicle with Adaptives) and Heimo Zobernig (Auto Sex).
Spiegel in Kabine mit Passtücken (Spiegel von Michelangelo Pistoletto), Franz West (1996)
Franz West: Autotheater – via Vernissage TV
The exhibition will move on in May 2010 to Madre in Naples and in September 2010 to Kunsthaus Graz.