The exhibition at the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst will provide comprehensive insight into the oeuvre of Franz West, Austria’s internationally most successful artist, who was distinguished with the honorary Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2011 Venice Biennale. Franz West died unexpectedly in July 2012.
Works in which he united several often very heterogeneous individual pieces to create a whole will form the core of the presentation, which was planned in collaboration with the artist. His practices of combining individual works, incorporating works by other artists into his installations, or asking artists to participate in his works are closely related to the participatory principles distinguishing his oeuvre. Through the involvement of the viewers as "users", West fundamentally changed traditional conceptions of the artist and the oeuvre. By touching and handling the works or appropriating them as sitting or lying surfaces, the recipients become "assistants" in the process of their production. The perception of an artwork thus becomes a physical experience. These two principles – the combination of works and the viewer's participation – can be attributed to West's principle that the meaning of a pictorial-linguistic element can never be conclusively and unequivocally defined, but changes according to the respective context and use.
Within the framework of the combination installations, the large-scale retrospective at the MMK will cover the entire spectrum of Franz West's oeuvre by showing examples from all phases of his career: the visitor will have the opportunity to see and experience his Passstücke ("Adaptives"), furniture, sculptures, videos and works on paper; pieces executed in cooperation with other artists will also be included. The exhibition is being carried out in cooperation with the mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien.