From December 14, 2016, to April 23, 2017, the 21er Haus will present central works by the Austrian artist Franz West (1947–2012) in an exhibition entitled Franz West – Artistclub. The works on view were made by 36 different artists in collaboration with Franz West. The so-called Artistclub began as a participatory project started by West in 1999. Even though it did not achieve its desired form while the artist was alive, here it can be experienced as a curatorial idea in the sense of an interactive exhibition. Viewer participation and the collaboration with other artists play a central role in West’s artistic practice. He continually challenged the relationship between the artist, the artistic work, and the recipient. The exhibition aims to reflect West’s concepts of art as a participatory act, the inclusion of various artistic positions via the process of collaboration, and the associated idea of authorship.
The 21er Haus attempts to revive West’s concept of the Artistclub. Starting in mid-January, this idea will be newly interpreted every second Wednesday between 6:00 and 9:00 PM. Heimo Zobernig’s central four-meter-large artwork will, in this sense, specifically serve as an “open stage” for lectures, talks, concerts, performances, and much more. Moreover, any visitor to the 21er Haus exhibition is invited to interact with the objects, which includes the opportunity to sit on any seating areas.
Through co-authorship and collaboration as well as through the re-launching of works from various creative phases and involvement by other artists, West introduced a subversive and often humorous form of play with the way authorship is attributed to artworks. With this in mind, it is important to note another significant work by West, named Extroversion, that was conceived for the 2011 Biennale di Venezia. In this work, West practically turned the walls of his studio kitchen inside out. Made by friends, colleagues, and co-workers, it involves 43 different artistic works that similarly upend themselves. While retaining their autonomy, they also come together to form a larger, more complex work of art. In addition to the typical conceptual displacement between work and the author, Extroversion also introduces a new and exciting aspect of West’s experience and treatment of space and architecture. The work itself, therefore, forms the starting point for an additional focus of the exhibition, one that concretely explores his approach toward space and architecture.
The exhibition shows Franz West together with Bizhan Bassiri, Elisabetta Benassi, Songül Boyraz, Jean-Marc Bustamante, Plamen Dejanoff & Svetlana Heger, Mathis Esterhazy, Marina Faust, Marco Fedele di Catrano, Urs Fischer, Herbert Flois, Gelitin, Douglas Gordon, Heiri Häfliger, Richard Hoeck, Peter Höll, Franz Kapfer, Mike Kelley, Leopold Kessler, Roland Kollnitz, Anita Leisz, Sarah Lucas, Otto Muehl, Albert Oehlen, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Rudolf Polanszky, Andreas Reiter Raabe, Anselm Reyle, Tamuna Sirbiladze, Josh Smith, Johann Szenizcei, Octavian Trauttmansdorff, Zlatan Vukosavljevic, Hans Weigand, Erwin Wurm, Heimo Zobernig.