Description: Larvae, 2004 Lacquered aluminum in two parts. 1: 90-1/2 x 63x 63 in. (229.9 x 160 x 160 cm) 2: 78-3/4 x 41-1/4 x 53-1/3 in. (200 x 104.8 x 135.5 cm)
Artist or Maker: FRANZ WEST
Exhibited: London, Gagosian Gallery Britannia Street, Displacement and Condensation, 12 September – 21 October, 2006
Literature: S. Ratibor, ed., E. Wingate, ed., Franz West Displacement and Condensation, London, 2006 (illustrated)
Provenance: Gagosian Gallery, London
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Franz West's career began in the midst of the local Austrian movement known as ‘Actionism' during the mid-1960's. His earliest sculptures, performances, and collages were a reaction to this movement, in which artists engaged in displays of radical public behavior and physical endurance meant to shake up art-world passivity. In Larvae from 2004, two biomorphic and prosthetic forms take the shape of sculptures which mine toward the intellectualism of Freud, subversively psychological in their shapes yet nutritious, full of vim with concealed undertones that take these conceptual casts into a mysterious abstraction. We are at first sight seduced by their shapes and openings, perplexed by their connotation and uncertain of their provenance. They exist in a world of their own morphing and trying to fit into our cognizance but inviting us to use them, touch them and giving them a function. Originally exhibited in the Displacement and Condensation exhibition at Gagosian, the two larvae shapes were meant to do exactly that within our perception. At the exhibition, West place furniture around his sculptures for the public to use and sit on, thus creating an inter-personal space with the figures exploring and creating a relationship to the environmental setting. They create a displacement from the usual interaction with sculpture and condensate our approximation to their personalities which we explore and become subtly more intrigued after investigating their obscure bodies. West's intention is playful and rejecting in its sense of the sublime and monumental in 20th century sculpture, drawing and blurring the boundary between art and bodily experience.