First UK presentation of 'Franz West: Where is my Eight?' opens at the Hepworth Wakefield

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First UK presentation of 'Franz West: Where is my Eight?' opens at the Hepworth Wakefield
Franz West, 'Parrhesia', 2010. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk. © Gabriel Szabo / Guzelian and the legal successors of Franz West. Installation view, 'Franz West: Where is my Eight?' at The Hepworth Wakefield 2014. Image courtesy The Hepworth Wakefield.

WAKEFIELD.- From 13 June until 14 September 2014, The Hepworth Wakefield shows the highly anticipated first UK presentation of the major survey exhibition, Franz West: Where is my Eight?

This is The Hepworth Wakefield’s largest exhibition since the gallery opened three years ago, with seven out of the ten David Chipperfield-designed gallery spaces showing Wests’ work.

Where is my Eight? presents a loosely chronological survey of Franz West’s artistic output, focusing on his combination pieces, which the artist worked on throughout his prolific career. These combine and re-combine individual works into a multitude of different configurations. The combi-pieces offer a direct insight into West’s complex and multi-layered output, including his ‘Adaptives’, furniture, sculpture, videos and works on paper.

Visitors can experience the works on a number of levels, from a psychological and intellectual exchange to a physical interaction. This includes an opportunity to use his signature ‘Adaptives’ (Passstücke) works. Intended by West to “adapt” to the body, they offer ever-changing results that depend on the visitor or wearer, time and context.

In the true spirit of Franz West, arguably one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th century, the exhibition Where is my Eight? has itself been adapted for its summer presentation at The Hepworth Wakefield. A unique intervention of West’s work take place in the Hepworth Family Gift, the museum's centrepiece collection display that features many of Hepworth’s plaster prototypes, as well as the six-metre high model for Hepworth’s John Lewis commission, Winged Figure, 1961 - 63.

This addition to the exhibition investigates the connections between the work of Franz West and Wakefield-born Hepworth. It places their work in parallel to explore the use of plaster as a creative material; the significance of the studio environment; the repeated return to reconfiguring and adapting previous works, including the combination of several pieces, and the intended physical experience of the works of art.

Simon Wallis, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield said: “We’re delighted to exhibit this major survey by such a significant and influential artist in Yorkshire this summer. The show will have some fascinating resonances with our sculpture collection.”

Where is my Eight? was initiated and co-developed with mumok (Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna) and with Franz West with great enthusiasm before his death in July 2012. The exhibition title and design for the exhibition poster were developed by the artist, a further example of his practice of combination and recombination. Inspired by his gouache of 2004, depicting a woman putting on a pair of trousers which, following a successful diet, were now too big for her, Franz omits the ‘W’ to transform the title Lost Weight into Lost Eight, before finally arriving at Where is my Eight? By leaving the question unanswered, West invites the viewer to develop their own associations.

Eva Badura-Triska, Curator at mumok and Head of the Archiv Franz West, knew the artist from the early 1980s and collaborated with him on various occasions, organising West’s first retrospective in 1996 at the museum in Vienna. She also developed this exhibition with West before he died and said: “I’m so pleased we’re able to realise this highly anticipated major UK showing of West’s varied, influential and prolific practice with The Hepworth Wakefield. It’s a timely celebration and appraisal of his very unique approach to art, with works that invite using the gallery spaces not only for experience, association, consideration and reflection, but also for a participatory conversation and social interaction.”

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