Private Collection, acquired directly from the Artist
2020 confirmed by the Franz West Privatstiftung, estate Franz West
2021 registered at Franz West Archive
exhibited and published:
1998 Eight People from Europe, Museum of Modern Art Gunma (cat.), curated by Kaspar König cf.: text about Japanese asthetics, White Chapel (cat.) 2003, p. 142.
At the same time as the exhibition ‘Eight People from Europe’ in Japan, curated by Kasper König, Franz West received an invitation to a solo exhibition at the Akira Ikeda Gallery in Tokyo. For this occasion in Japan, he creates this large original poster design with his characteristic typographic collage. He uses thin wooden wrapping, riveting a smaller panel onto a large one, respecting the visible wood grain. He paints the panel in the manner of Far Eastern caligraphy, again quoting the wood grain, and sets the exhibition announcement text in Japanese characters. He frames the work with a wide white frame, also made of leftover pieces, fermented on top, blunt on the bottom, and paints the frame thickly with white paint, the brushstrokes emerging haptically. Originally created for this exhibition planned in 1998, but the exhibition could not be realized. The work went from the studio to a private collection in the close family circle of Franz West. (Elisabeth Thoman)
Excerpt from the conversation “HOT DOG – Emailexchange between Franz West and Anthony Spira”” in WEST – Pensées, Features, Interview Anthology, Whitechapel Gallery 2002, with contributions by, Robert Storr, Ulrich Loock, Nicolas Bourriaud, Kristine Stiles, Page 140 – 142:
AS: Speaking of aesthetics, particularly in relation to your larger pâpiermaché works, are you familiar with the Japanese aesthetic system (or world view) called wabi-sabi? Apparently it embodies the Japanese equivalent of Greek ideals of beauty and perfection, impermanent, incomplete, modest, humble and unconventional things. The concepts of wabi-sabi correlate with the concepts of ZEN buddhism which emphasizes ‘direct, intuitive insight into transcendental truth beyond all intellectual conception.’ At the core of wabu-sabi is the importance of transcending ways of looking and thinking about things and existence. Apparently the material characteristics of wabi-sabi suggest a natural process, irregular, intimate, unpretentious, earthy, simple…
FW: If what I got to know in Japan is wabi-sabi – for instance wear and tear on the walls of rooms or signs of weathering that are not redecorated or removed but which are regarded as beautiful, an expression of the world as it is, and are left as they are – then I know what you mean. The interesting thing about it is that something similar also forms the basis of the grotesque, e.g. in the Domus Aurea Neros, where marks on the wall are not removed, and instead the figures that you can see in them (like in a Rorschach Test) become the focus of attention. In contrast to the japanese mind-set, in western art (as in Boticelli, Leonardo and right through to Dali) these often artificially produced irregularities become the focus, and are almost, you might say, made to fit some common sense scheme whereas in Japan they are left untouched. Which has only been possible here since the eighties – before that INFORMAL painting refused to be used as a projection surface for our fantasies. I think this tendency opened up new vistas in painting.