Preview: Jack Foley
CAN an object be sociable? When is a sculpture also a painting?
Is it possible to express the unconscious as a piece of furniture?
Franz Wests experimental sculpture, furniture and
objects fuse Freud with form, sculpture with painting.
Using brightly-coloured aluminium, papier-mâché
or collage, West creates images and situations bordering on the
The Whitechapel is currently bringing together the first
major survey of Franz West in Britain, with works from the past
30 years, that are by turns erotic, philosophical and immensely
Franzwestite: Franz West - works 1973-2003 will run at the until
Franz Wests forefathers are the Viennese Actionists - 1960s
performance artists who used the body to trigger cathartic experiences.
West gives form to attitudes through a series of plaster body
parts or off-the-peg performance props, forcing the body into
poses which are part hilarious, part agonised.
West also takes everyday objects and carefully bandages them
with papier-mâché until they metamorphose into bizarre
new forms. These meteorite-like shapes, splattered with intense
high gloss colour seem to express pure neurosis.
Franz West is fascinated by images in glossy magazines and the
allure of soft-porn and the motor industry.
In a playful critique of consumer culture, he paints over these
advertisements to isolate images and highlight their absurdity.
West has also become famous for the furniture-sculpture he has
been making since the 1980s, inviting us to lie on his couches
to relax, socialise and become transformed into artists
model, psychiatrists patient and work of art.
His offer of participation also extends to other artists - Martin
Kippenberger, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Wolfgang Tillmans have
all contributed to Wests subversive, sociable and aesthetically
The Whitechapel is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 11am to
6pm, and on Thursday, from 11am to 9pm. It is closed on Mondays.
Admission is free.
Address: Whitechapel Art Gallery,
80-82 Whitechapel High Street,
London, E1 7QX. Tel: 020 7522 7878 (recorded info)/020 7522 7888