Emerging in the early 1970s, Austrian artist Franz West (1947-2012) created objects that serve to redefine art as a social experience, calling attention to how viewers interact with works of art and with each other. The 1990s proved critical in the development of the idiosyncratic style for which West is still known today. Key innovations from this period--which included the addition of exuberant color to his papier-mâché forms, the incorporation of furniture both as art object and as social incubator, and the inclusion of work by other artists in his own installations--resulted in dynamic, frequently interactive installations that helped to redefine the possibilities of sculpture and the ways in which art is experienced. This publication gives an in-depth overview of this decade, arguably the most important of the artist's lengthy career, and features essays by noted West scholars Eva Badura-Triska and Veit Loers.
Franz West (1947-2012) began exhibiting his work in the 1970s and gained international recognition in the 1980s, with significant shows at such venues as the Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Secession, Vienna (both 1986); Skulptor. Projected in Mu?nster (1987); Kunsthalle Bern (1988); and the Institute of Contemporary Art, PS1, Long Island City, New York (1989). In the 1990s, the artist's work was presented at the Austrian Pavilion of the 44th Venice Biennale (1990); documenta IX, Kassel (1992); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Dia Center for the Arts, New York (both 1994); and the Städtisches Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach (1996). A major,mid-career retrospective, Franz West, Proforma, was organized by the Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig (MUMOK), Vienna in 1996 (it traveled to Kunsthalle Basel; Rijksmuseum Rijksmuseum Kröller-Mu?ller, Otterlo; Národní Galerie, Prague; Muzeum Sztuki w Lodzi, Lodz). The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid presented the traveling survey Franz West: In & Out (2000-2001).
?Veit Loers was the Director of the Sta?dtisches Museum Abteiberg in Mo?nchengladbach from 1995–2003. In 1996, he organized a solo exhibition of Franz West’s work, Gelegentliches. He also organized solo exhibitions of the work of Martin Kippenberger, Gu?nther Fo?rg and Isa Genzken. Since his early retirement in 2003, Loers has worked as an independent curator and author. In 2007, he published Psychonauten, Volume 55 of Jahresring; in 2009, he edited Franz West for the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection. From 2010 to 2012, he was Director of the Kunstraum Innsbruck, where he exhibited work by Danh Vo, Gregor Schneider and Neil Beloufa, among others. In 2015, he curated the exhibition Avatar and Atavism at the Kunsthalle Du?sseldorf. Loers has also published numerous essays on artists and art theory.
Eva Badura-Triska is an art historian and curator at the Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig (MUMOK), Vienna. She is the author of numerous publications on modern and contemporary art, with a focus on Vienna Actionism, Franz West and Heimo Zobernig. Badura-Triska curated West’s first retrospective exhibition, Franz West, Proforma (1996). She also curated the artist’s first major posthumous show, Where is my Eight? (2013). Since 1999 she has served as general secretary of the Franz West Archive.
Bernhard Riff was born in 1952 and studied psychology and journalism. He is the co-founder of Synema (Institute for Film Theory) in Vienna, and has edited and contributed to a number of books, including Das unbewusste Sehen, Texte zu Psychoanalyse Film Kino (1989), G.W. Pabst (1990) and The Films of G.W. Pabst(1990). Since 1987, he has been making videos on art and artists, and in 1995, he founded his own video studio in Vienna. Beginning in 1989, Riff collaborated extensively with Franz West—their works together include Investigations of American Art(1992), Gelegentlich (1996), Otium (1996) and Creativity (1999). Riff’s work has also been included in international museums and exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale (1990, 1993), Dia Center for the Arts, New York (1994), Palacio de Vela?zquez / Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofi?a, Madrid (2001), and the Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig (MUMOK), Vienna (2013).