New York Art@Site Franz West The Ego and the Id

Franz West


The Ego and the Id

Central Park
Art which makes cheerful
To me this is an artwork seems to have no pretensions: the formless parts are crudely stitched together. It looks like a trying-out at first glance, that can have quite nice long lines that reach far up.
The Ego and the ID by Franz West has no ideal color combination, to my taste. There is a big difference in the amount of white in the colours: the yellow have to do it without white but the blue is thrown with white.
No grey-color is used: this artwork has no sadness. The merriment comes near to naivety.
The artwork is more than human-size and thus becomes monumental. On the other hand, I have the feeling that it’s about to fall because of the unstable forms.
The forms look like long legs which are dancing ballet and which are sometimes standing cross-legged.
This artwork is very different from the classical statue, which is standing stately, is monumental, has a concrete subject.
The Ego and the ID by Franz West makes me cheerful, by the use of bright colors, lightweight materials and unpretentious forms.

Kunst dat vrolijk maakt
Dit is een kunstwerk dat volgens mij geen pretenties heeft: de vormloze onderdelen zijn knullig aan elkaar geplakt. Het lijkt op een eerste gezicht een uitprobeersel, dat heel mooi kan worden door de lange lijnen die ver omhoog steken.
The Ego and the ID van Franz West heeft geen ideale kleurencombinatie, naar mijn gevoel. Er is een groot verschil in de hoeveelheid wit in de kleuren: het geel moet het doen zonder wit maar in het blauw is juist flinke scheut wit gegooid.
In de kleuren is geen grijs gedaan: dit kunstwerk heeft geen droefheid. De vrolijkheid grenst eerder aan naïviteit.
Het kunstwerk is méér dan menshoog en wordt daarmee monumentaal. Daar staat tegenover dat de vormen instabiel lijken en elk moment dreigen om te vallen.
De vormen lijken op lange benen die ballet dansen en op een enkel moment kruisbeens staan.
Dit kunstwerk is heel anders dan het klassieke standbeeld, dat statig, monumentaal, donker, concreet is.
The Ego and the ID van Franz West maakt mij vrolijk, door het gebruik van lichte kleuren, lichtgewicht materialen en pretentieloze vormen.
Franz West, the Viennese sculptor, collagist, and furniture-maker, is a gentle anarchist whose audience-friendly works anticipated—and considerably outshine—the recent vogue of 'relational aesthetics' in international art. (I have in mind the likes of food events by Rikrit Tiravanija and interactive environments by any number of other virtual-camp counsellors.) West’s please-touch-me objects dependably entertain but never seem trivial. He projects the disconcerting gravitas of a serious man who is constitutionally averse to taking anything seriously.
Born in 1947, West grew up in postwar Vienna, where children played in bomb ruins. 'It was more than dirty—filthy,' he has said. His parents were Communists. The family lived in a housing project 'full of old Nazis,' where his father sold coal and his Jewish mother was a dentist, working in their apartment with primitive equipment. 'Every forty minutes, a new patient was screaming.' He studied art intermittently while leading a life, between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five, that he describes as 'pretty catastrophic'—ridden with drugs and aimless travels, amid café existentialists. He emerged on a scene dominated by the Vienna Actionists, who assaulted the complacency of their countrymen with determinedly horrific, sadomasochistic performances. In 1968, West attended an infamous event at the University of Vienna that featured the artist Gunter Brus stripping naked, cutting himself with a razor, smearing himself with excrement, and masturbating while singing the Austrian National Anthem. At the end, the Actionists solicited questions from the audience. It has very often been told that the young West broke a long, traumatized silence by rising to say, 'Thank you very much. I enjoyed your performance enormously. I think these gentlemen have earned a round of applause.' The tale may be apocryphal. (West says he doesn’t remember it happening.) But its tone of devastating benevolence essentializes the funny, redemptive pivot that his art made in the mood and mode of Vienna’s avant-garde.
West is that rarest of birds: an urbane hippie. Reportedly, his studio in Vienna is part factory, part be-in. First among equals, he channels collaborative energies. His art enlists, rather than addresses, its viewers. His best-known works are the 'Adaptives' ('Passstÿcke,' also translatable as 'Prostheses'), which he started making in 1974: odd-shaped, white-painted lumps of papier-mâché on bent steel rods, vaguely Giacometti-esque in look. They are meant to be handled. To pick one up is to become a self-conscious performer, improvising ways to hold, wield, or wear it. West’s startlingly comfortable sofas, in welded rebar and cushioned or carpet-draped steel mesh, precipitate a vision of society at once domestic and public, in which everyone is both a spectator and a spectacle. Sublimely witty collages of painted-over images from print ads and soft-core pornography unfailingly look amateurish (not easy after years of practice). Resistance is futile. West’s libidinous civility conquers all.
West’s abstract, painted-aluminum sculpture—successors to his coarse but fragile, galumphing forms in papier-mâché—may be the most energetic and affable art for public spaces since Alexander Calder. Made of overlapping, welded patches, and coated in shiny, chipper single colors, the works suggest children’s Play-Doh inspirations, with slightly naughty scatological nuances. A new, colossal piece is West’s strongest yet. 'The Ego and the Id,' in two parts, deploys twisting, soaring loops in various toothsome colors, and sprouts stools for sitting. Contemplating the work’s echt Viennese title, I wondered which of the sections was supposed to be which. Then it came to me. Sitting on one of the stools, I was the ego, dissolving into the properly wild but—as it was socially shared and condoned—undangerous id. I remembered the hippie era, when flailingly sanguine visions of collective ecstasy sprang up and sputtered out. Forty years on, I thought, somebody has got it right.