This summer The Hepworth Wakefield is dedicating its gallery spaces to a large-scale exhibition of one of the most prominent artists of our time. Franz West, who died in July 2012, achieved worldwide fame with his Passstücke [Adaptives], as well as his sculptures for interior and exterior spaces.
'HIS ART COULD BE ABSURD AND TOUCHING, WEIRD AND THREATENING - SOMETIMES ALL AT ONCE.' - The Guardian
The focus of this loosely chronological exhibition is West’s combination pieces, in which the artist combined various individual pieces and subsequently recombined them in different configurations. Due to this combination and recombination of different kinds of work including Adaptives, furniture, sculpture, videos and works on paper from different periods, the exhibition provides a much needed and highly anticipated major UK showing of West’s varied, influential and prolific practice.
Here at The Hepworth Wakefield the exhibition also investigates the connections and parallels between the work of Franz West and Barbara Hepworth. With a playful yet striking intervention into The Hepworth Family Gift gallery, this exhibition will places both artists’ work in conversation: the use of the democratic material of plaster; the significance of the studio environment; and the repeated return to reconfiguring and adapting previous work.
Franz West’s practice is fundamentally participatory and seeks dialogue with the viewer. His work offers various possibilities for experiencing the world with ever-changing results that depend on recipient and context. This engagement can take place on a physical level—as in the case of the Adaptives which are meant to “adapt” to the body—but also on a mental or intellectual level, as is the case with his installations or works on paper. West’s work is unpretentious, light-footed, and humorous, but founded on an intense engagement with philosophical thought, an early concern which intensified throughout the artist’s life.
Where is my Eight? was initiated and co-developed with mumok (Museum moderner Kunst, Vienna) and by Franz West with great enthusiasm before his death and provides insight into West's complex and many-layered art practice.
It is supported by the Henry Moore Institute and Austrian Cultural Forum London and funded by Wakefield Council and Arts Council England.
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