Confirming the Baltimore Museum of Art’s position within collecting and scholarship history in contemporary art, To Build a House You Start With the Roof is a monologue of the artist’s celebrated career from 1972 to 2008. Ranging from the 1970s’ Adaptives which made use of cast offs and found objects, through to ‘80s papier mâché and today’s installation art, furniture design and sculptural assemblages, West’s resistance to established hierarchies of the art world is best summarised in his work’s inability to be categorised by language. Richly illustrated by works whose influences have drawn consistently from the body and music, a number of vital conversations and essays accompany West’s oeuvre in this solid account of his personal and working life.
Austrian sculptor and collage artist Franz West has created a large body of work since the 1970s interested in the human body and social interaction with art. His celebrated career has been known for creating ‘Adaptives’ – often lumpen plaster objects intended to be picked up and only animated as artworks once physically engaged with. His colourful and comfortable furniture has transformed exhibition spaces in its invitation to visitors to use it and render the space habitable and sociable.
West has exhibited at many major biennales and art fairs, including Documenta, Kassel, Germany; Sculpture Projects in Münster, Germany and Venice Biennale, Italy. Exhibitions at major institutions have also punctuated his career: The Museum of Modern Art; Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofía; Whitechapel Gallery; Kunsthalle Wien and Gagosian Gallery. The artist lives and works in Vienna where he was born, in 1947. Franz West is represented by Gagosion Gallery.