Tate Modern’s latest solo show is dedicated to Franz West, an Austrian artist known for deliberately destroying his artworks if anyone said they were beautiful. This exhibition, which arrives in London after a run at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, is the first major retrospective since West’s death in 2012. Here’s our guide to why you should pay the show a visit (just don’t say the ‘b’ word):
West’s ‘Passstücke’ (or, ‘Adaptives’) are small papier-mâché sculptures designed to be picked up and played with. Many of the originals are now too delicate to cope with the grubby paws of gallery visitors, but Tate Modern’s show includes a more durable selection, plus a little booth so you can pose for selfies while brandishing a moon rock thingy on a stick.
The Outdoor Sculptures
Another West calling card, the artist’s giant outdoor sculptures, have been installed in cities, parks, lakes, and in the middle of nowhere. Tate’s putting a few inside and outside the Bankside gallery, including this one, ‘Rrose (DRAMA)’. The big pink tube is meant to look like a human intestine with no outlet. In other words, full of… yeah.
The Lemur Heads
One of the highlights of the exhibition are these giant white heads. Called ‘Lemurenköpfe’, which means ‘lemur heads’, they look absolutely nothing like the heads of small fluffy mammals from Madagascar. ‘Lemure’, however, means ‘spirit’ or ‘ghost’ in Latin which gets you closer to understanding these uncanny decapitations.
The Epiphany on Chairs
Tate Modern’s exhibition includes several artworks not on show in Paris. One of the best is ‘Epiphanie an Stühlen’, a pink blob that looks like it’s been caught mid-explosion, plus two chairs to contemplate it from. With typical West humour, it invites viewers to have their own moment of revelation while sitting on a chair.
Wandering around art galleries pretending you know what you’re on about is hard work. Have a seat on one of West’s divans (metal benches covered with vintage rugs) and rest your blistered feet. The artist made a huge number of these and put them in public places for all to enjoy. Take off your boots like the woman in the picture and have a snooze.
‘Franz West’ is at Tate Modern Feb 20-Jun 2. Find out more here.
Plan more art exhibition visits with our guide to all the latest art shows in London here.