Franz West (1947-2012)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Franz West (1947-2012)

Labstück (Refresher)

Details
Franz West (1947-2012)
Labstück (Refresher)
papier-mâché, found glass bottle and steel
56 ½ x 4 7/8 x 6 1/8in. (143 x 12.5 x 15.7cm.)
Executed circa 1990
Provenance
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
Sale room notice
Please note the title of the work is Labstück (Refresher) and not as stated in the printed catalogue

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Paola Saracino Fendi
Paola Saracino Fendi

Lot Essay

Two outstanding examples of Franz West’s radical visual language together illuminate his endeavours to liberate aesthetic experience. The artist was recently the subject of a widely-acclaimed retrospective jointly organized by Tate Modern, London, and the Centre Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris. West was self-taught and many of his earliest sculptures incorporated the bandages, wires and tools his mother used as a dentist. In the mid-1970s, he developed his Passtücke or Adaptives, sculptures that are meant to be handled and played with, and the slender, lance-like form of Untitled, 1990, exemplifies the whimsy of these works. 1990 was an exciting year for West, who was just beginning to gain widespread international recognition, and that year, he was included in the 44th Venice Biennale. West did not smooth down his papier-mâché casings, but instead elected to retain the tactile surface of irregular textures. By encouraging a haptic encounter that required audience participation, Untitled complicates conventional curatorial strategies which often use plinths to demarcate an object as art. If the earlier Untitled allowed for a bodily interaction then the form of Untitled, 2003, is itself corporeal. The fire-engine red organ is smaller and softer, but it still evinces the same seemingly-haphazard finish as the earlier Passtücke. West’s sculptures evoke both the corporeal body as well as the its psychic and sexual representation, and he endeavoured to render these sensations in three-dimensions. This embrace threaded through his practice yet West’s biomorphic forms were also rooted in philosophical provocations, and each proceeds from a concept that layers Structuralist theories with the writings of Hegel, Baudelaire and Lacan, among others. Above all, these works possess a capacity for change: as Robert Fleck wrote, ‘West’s sculptures are intrinsically amorphous, apparently formless in their appearance, and may be observed and/or used. Their dignified presentation and staging induces the viewer’s contemplation, otherwise reserved for more solemn art forms, but which here in fact allows the anti-sculpture to come properly into its own’ (R. Fleck, ‘Sex and the Modern Sculptor’, Franz West, London, 1999, p. 24).

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