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Franz West

Untitled

1991

Franz West emerged as part of the generation following 1960s Viennese Actionist artists, who used their own bodies in their work, often staging destructive or violent public performances. However, unlike that of the Actionists, West’s work incorporates the bodies of his viewers: he makes three-dimensional objects that encourage individual and personal physical encounters. Seemingly thrown together from rough materials, his sculptures and installations eschew the formalism typical of modernist sculpture. Untitled is a freestanding plaster obelisk with socks and other detritus attached to it, including some of West’s personal effects, combining autobiographical specificity with the universality of a classical form.

Franz West (b. 1947, Vienna; lives and works in Vienna)
Untitled, 1991
Aluminum, wire, papier-mâché, and gauze
71 1/2 x 33 x 18 1/8 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Purchased with funds provided by the Samuel and May Rudin Foundation, Inc.

These papier-mâché works somehow hover between the mechanical and the organic. I see them not only as parts of a machine but also as human forms. Anyhow, the idea was to go beyond the subject-object divide and produce things that somehow exist in the ambiguous no-man’s-land between those two positions. —Franz West

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