Mostly West is immersive and thrilling; the exhibition transforms Inverleith House
into a series of highly distinctive rooms, each defined by the character of its collaborations. Visitors can not only look at art but also sit, talk and play in keeping with Wests unique and profound spirit of engagement.
West collaborated throughout his career and saw art as participatory, often integrating works by different artists with his own and combining works from various periods to produce new readings. His hugely influential Passstücke (Adaptives) begun in 1974 are amorphously shaped sculptures made to be used by the participant. His later furniture and brightly-coloured aluminum sculptures are conceived as both useable objects and installations. Mostly West features almost fifty works conceived and made by West and his collaborators throughout a thirty year period, from 1982 to the present day; the artist passed away on 25 July 2012.
Hugely influential in his own right, West was actively interested in the work of other artists and would often invite collaborations. Sometimes (as in the case of the earliest works in the exhibition, made with Eugenia Rochas in 1983), West would give an artist a work of his own to complete. On other occasions, the collaboration began by West asking another artist to provide something of their own; the Spiegel in Kabine mit Passtücken, (1996) began by West asking Michelangelo Pistoletto for a mirror. In Wests extensive and most recent collaboration with Anselm Reyle, works would be sent back and forth between the artists; first exhibited at the Shinkel Pavilion in Berlin last year, these are displayed in the first room of the exhibition.
Whilst the identities of both artists are expressed (and respected) in such collaborations, West was the instigator and it seems, had the final say. West was also interested in performance and music; he worked with the Bulgarian choreographer and performer Ivo Dimchev (with Wests Adaptives) and the Austrian musician Philipp Quehenberger whose contribution to Mostly West plays quietly in the pond outside Inverleith House. Wests magical collaboration with Heimo Zobernig Bateau Imaginaire can be seen by visiting the pond in the Chinese Hillside to the south of Inverleith House.
The Garden was one of the first public institutions to exhibit Wests aluminum sculptures in an outdoor exhibition, Meeting Points, (2001) and Mostly West was conceived in 2011, the year West received the Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 54th Venice Biennale. Mostly West is curated by Ines Turian, chair of the Franz West Foundation, and is kindly supported by The Austrian Consulate and Gagosian Gallery.
Mostly West: Franz West and Artist Collaborations, the first ever exhibition by the great Austrian artist Franz West (1947 2012) of works made solely in collaboration with other artists, including: Richard Artschwager, Jack Bauer, Joachim Baur, Reinhard Bernsteiner, Jean Marc Bustamante, Mathis Estherhazy, Marina Faust, Herbert Flois, Heiri Häfliger, Anton Herzl, Richard Hoeck, Peter Höll, Peter Gerwin Hoffmann, Douglas Gordon, Roland Kollnitz, Jannis Kounellis, Sarah Lucas, Albert Oehlen, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Raymond Pettibon, Rudolf Polanszky, Andreas Reiter Raabe, Anselm Reyle, Eugenia Rochas, Eva Schlegel, Gabi Senn, Tamuna Sirbiladze, Janc Szeniczei, Octavian Trauttmansdorff and Heimo Zobernig.
Franz West was born in Vienna in 1947 and studied at the Academy of Applied Arts, Vienna. He died in Vienna in July 2012. West's work has featured prominently in numerous international survey exhibitions such as Documenta and in Biennales all over the world. It is included in major public collections including the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and MAXXI, Rome. Recent solo exhibitions include Well Not Carry Coals, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2003); Recent Sculptures, Lincoln Centre, New York (2004); Vancouver Art Gallery (2005); MAK, Vienna (2008); To Build A House You Start with the Roof: Work, 19722008, Baltimore Museum of Art (200809, travelled to Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2009); and Franz West: Autotheatre, Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2010, travelled to MADRE, Naples and Universalmuseum, Graz, Austria in 201011).