Born in Vienna in 1947, sculptor and artist Franz West attended Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts between 1977 and 1982, studying under Bruno Gironcoli. His often-colorful work ranges from furniture to large public sculptures and collages. His first major sculptural works, the Adaptives series, were produced in the mid-1970s and consisted of small, amorphous objects designed as playthings to be handled. During the 1980s, he began to produce furniture, which he perceived as installation sculpture. His work reveals an appreciation for a variety of iconoclastic influences, running the gamut from Vienna’s Secessionists to Marcel Duchamp.
His work is included in major exhibitions and national collections around the world, including the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris; the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, the MAXXI in Rome; the Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museo Tamayo in Mexico City; and New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
Between 1992 and 1993, West lectured at Frankfurt’s Städelschule. In 1994, he was honored with the Generali Foundation’s Sculpture Prize, and in 2011, he was awarded the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the 54th Venice Biennale. He passed away in Vienna in 2012.