Monday, 1 November 2010


The Austrian artist Franz West has long made art that can picked up or sat down upon without reservation as well as actual furniture that has the presence of sculpture. “If I would give the truthful answer,” he says, “I would have to say that I really do not think in such categories between furniture and sculptures.” His latest installation, “Roman Room,” at Gagosian Gallery in Rome, makes a practical distinction if not a conceptual one. A cluster of sculptures made largely from papier-mâché, foam, gauze and cardboard, perched on low pedestals, intermingle with a pair of linen sheathed sofas and a chair that West created specially for the occasion. “I had the idea while watching my 3-year-old son looking up at the sculptures,” the artist says of the arrangement. “The seatings make for alternative positions and viewing platforms throughout the show.” The sculptures, which, depending on how you look at them and also maybe how old you are, might bring to mind enormous, melting ice cream treats, are as lumpy and charming as the seating is lean and angular. Both exude comfort in their own way. “When I was younger, I thought it was all right to make the visitor uncomfortable,” West says. “But now that I am older it would not be correct because my problems have gone.”

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