Franz West, Tate Modern - ★★★★☆ - Until June 2, 2019


Never heard of Franz West? Neither had I until I went to this exhibition. An Austrian who died in 2012, by the 1990s he had become quite widely known internationally. His works have whimsical German titles, and in the 1970s he began making small ‘interactive’ sculptures that people could handle. By the mid-1980s he was making much larger ‘Legitimate Sculptures’ on pedestals. Materials often suggested a kindergarten: paint-slathered papier-mâché or plaster over everyday objects and ice cream colours. By the 1990s, he achieved the same look with his large ‘Outdoor Sculptures’ made from aluminium or fibreglass. Whatever the scale, his work was always playful, but, perhaps, not ‘punk’ as the descriptions suggest. He sought to provoke and to amuse, but not to shock, and his use of pedestals was his reaction against Minimalism. His output included drawings, collages, furniture and abstract sculpture. They invite interaction, but visitors are advised which works can be sat on and which can’t. Sarah Lucas, a friend of West’s, has curated the show very sensitively, and I loved this exhibition, as much for the scrambling of categories as for its aesthetic qualities. Art that is a lot of fun!

Reviewed by A.L.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆★ 

WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until June 2, 2019
Mon - Thu: 10 am - 4:30 pm
Fri - Sun: 10 am - 8:30 pm
Tate Modern
Nearest tube: Waterloo
https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/franz-west

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