Franz West is most known for his mixed media sculptures which he terms “Adaptives”. These objects are meant to be “ergonomically inclined” that only fulfill the role of artwork when they are handled, carried, worn etc. West is interested in the dialogue between the viewer and the object, the relation between sculpture and painting and what it means to be aesthetic. West manipulates everyday materials and images and challenges the interplay between what is concealed and exposed, what is acted upon and what is being reacted to. This happens both in and outside of the gallery setting.
West typically uses papier-mache, wire, plaster, aluminium and other materials. Initially West started painting but then started creating collages and sculptures. In the 1990’s West began making large aluminium pieces inspired by Viennese sausages – which became well known for his “Adaptives” – which were meant for lying and sitting.
Like Oldenburg, I am interested in the outdoor, accessible nature of his work and the fact that the work invites interaction that includes more than looking. The audience is invited to sit and feel immersed in his installations. The fact that West’s installations are only considered art when they are interacted with further heightens the importance of the work being tactile. This is what Ellie and myself want to consider with our future work and it was a suggestion in our feedback in the Things That Matter project.