b. Vienna, Austria, 16 February 1947 – d. Vienna, Austria, 26 July 2012
Austrian sculptor and painter Franz West was a contemporary artist who defied categorisation. Free-spirited and independent, he entered the public consciousness first via his sculptures, and then via his papier-mâché creations during the 1980s. His multi-disciplinary and interactive body of work fused formal work and performance, as can be seen in his Adaptives (Passstu?cke): plaster sculptures which moulded to fit the body of the viewer, who was encouraged to handle them freely. Such creations embody West’s desire to query the notion of what constitutes a work of art, and play on the boundaries which separate it from normal, everyday objects.
In 2011, West was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale for his collected body of work. He has had solo exhibitions in numerous institutions such as at Mumok in Vienna in 2013, the Pompidou Centre in Paris in 2018, and the Tate Modern in London in 2019. His works feature among the collections of almost every prestigious museum, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the MoMA in New York, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, the Tate in London, and the Pompidou Centre in Paris.