Franz West at Australian Gallery Neon Parc
Regarding the death of West, Geoff Newton, the Director of Neon Parc Gallery, said that "after hearing the sad news of the death of Austrian artist Franz West yesterday, Neon Parc is doubly honoured to be exhibiting the work of one of the most influential artists of our time. West's sculpture, collages, paintings and furniture have a singular vision that further emphasise the social value of art and his work is an inspiration to many artists the world over”.
Currently on display at Neon Parc alongside the visceral grunge aesthetic of the talented emerging New York based abstract painter Josh Smith are a series of collages by West from his Paßstück (Passstuecke) series as well as a number of the artist’s furniture works.
The title Paßstück doesn’t translate into English particularly well but was originally a technical term meaning “parts that fit into each other”. West began his Paßstück series in the early 1970’s with the production of small-scale assemblages incorporating found materials such as cardboard, bandages, and wire, which he then covered with a coat of plaster and white paint. According to Gagosian Gallery, “West maintained that the viewer must engage with, handle, the sculptures in order to fully experience their ‘ergonomic’ nature“.
West’s collages are a continuation of his sculptural practice with silhouette images of his assemblages appearing to be “modelled” by the figures in the collages which are composed of images drawn from mass media advertising combined with abstract compositional method.
Appearing to double as both works of art and advertising for his own Paßstück exhibition, which was originally held at Gagosian Gallery, West uses his collages to poke fun at the arbitrary nature of mass media by hijacking the “found” bourgeois images and employing them for his own, seemingly more utilitarian purposes.
**Correction: A previous version of this article used an analogy pertaining to the inheritance of of a figurative custodianship and guardianship by Neon Parc gallery of the Franz West artistic legacy due to the death of West while a number of the artist's works were being displayed at Neon Parc. Artinfo Australia would like to emphasise that Neon Parc has NOT legally inherited, nor is custodian of any portion of the Franz West artistic legacy.