Franz West was born in Vienna in 1947 and died there in 2012. He was one of the most important Austrian sculptors of the post-war generation. His best-known works worldwide are the unique "Passstücke", which he has been producing since the 1970s. Participation is the quintessence of his work.
Even before his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna with Bruno Gironcoli from 1977-1982, Franz West was artistically active. Both drawings and sculptures, including the first "Passstücke", were created in the early 70s. These are abstract organic forms made of plaster or papier-mâché, partly in combination with metal, which can be used by the viewer in different ways. Later, everyday objects, especially different kinds of chairs, also found their way into his oeuvre. His works both make us smile and reflect. The boundaries of art and authorship are questioned or disappear completely, while the viewer plays a decisive role. It is only through the psychological or physical dialogue between object and subject that the work of art becomes fully accessible. Collaboration with artist colleagues is also an important thought in the work of Franz West. The idea of the so-called "ARTISTCLUB" was implemented at Belvedere 21 in 2017. Franz West represents Austria at the 1993 Venice Biennale and exhibits at Documenta IX and X in Kassel. His work is also popular beyond the borders of Europe. 1989 his first exhibition took place in the USA. He also took part in the São Paulo Art Biennial (1998) and the Biennale of Sydney (2000). From 1994 to 2001, Franz West was represented in New York by gallery owner David Zwirner, and since 2001 by the Gagosian Gallery. The recognition of his achievements can also be seen in numerous awards, such as the Otto Mauer Prize in 1986 and the Honorary Lion of the Venice Biennale in 2011 for his life's work and the Austrian Decoration of Honour for Science and Art. While still alive, Franz West's work was also presented internationally in the major exhibition venues in Vienna. The last exhibition, in which he himself participated conceptually until shortly before his death, took place at the mumok Vienna in 2012. In 2018, the Centre Pompidou in Paris will be showing a retrospective that moved to the Tate Modern in London in 2019.