Beginning December 2009 Museum Ludwig
will be showing the first major retrospective of Franz West (born 1947 in Vienna) in Europe. The Austrian sculptor is one of the most influential artists of our times.
Over 40 works dating from 1972 to the present, which in some cases the artist has grouped together in themed constellations, allow the visitor to experience the sheer complexity and singularity of his oeuvre. The title Auto-Theatre underlines the performative, interactive dimension of his work. According to Franz West his Passstücke (Adaptives) are sculptures as it were that one can pick up and use to gesticulate however one sees fit. West has also extended this dialogue with the viewer to include his furniture sculptures, which he has produced since the mid-eighties and which unravel the boundaries between the visual and the applied arts. Since the nineties he has worked increasingly with others artists, such as for instance Michelangelo Pistoletto (Spiegel in Kabine mit Passstücken = Mirror in Cubicle with Adaptives) and Heimo Zobernig (Auto Sex).
The exhibition has been devised in close collaboration with the artist and will present his works in new combinations and in new contexts. In addition three monumental sculptures will be set up in the gallery spaces and in the immediate vicinity of the museum.
Franz Wests links with Cologne go back many years. In 1981 Kasper König showed Wests Adapatives for the first time in the exhibition Westkunst. In 1998 the Gesellschaft für moderne Kunst am Museum Ludwig awarded Franz West the Wolfgang Hahn Prize and purchased his Kantine for the museum. Already in 2001 the museum arranged for a Franz West installation to be exhibited on a short-term basis as part of the Museum of our Wishes - Kasper Königs first exhibition at Museum Ludwig. This was followed in 2006 by the museum purchasing the work Plural (2006). Which all means that Franz West s retrospective Auto-Theatre constitutes a logical progression in the museums enduring interest in this artist.
The loans come both from the artists studio and internationally renowned museums and private collections, including the Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig, the Generali Foundation, Mumok Wien, the Essl Collection, Kunstsammlung NRW, Centre Pompidou, the Grässlin Collection, Anton and Annick Herbert to name but a few.
The exhibition will move on in May 2010 to Madre in Naples and in September 2010 to Kunsthaus Graz.