PHOTOGRAPH: “LISA DE COHEN WITH ADAPTIVE”(1983)/ARCHIV FRANZ WEST via the new yorker
In recent weeks I have discovered some of the most fantastic interactive sculpture.
The first is Franz West’s adaptives. This photo breaks my heart, it is so beautiful. I don’t think that any words are actually necessary.
But thanks to the Gagosian 2008 catalogue which provides a fabulous background for these adaptives:
In the early 1970s Franz West began making small-scale assemblages incorporating found materials such as cardboard, bandages, and wire, which he then covered with a coat of plaster and white paint. He called these sculptures Paßstück. West maintained that the viewer must engage with, handle, the sculptures in order to fully experience their “ergonomic” nature. Subsequently Paßstück has been translated as “adaptive” but this does not fully capture its original source as a technical term meaning “parts that fit into each other.” These early sculptures function as prosthetics for an intimate version of the extreme Actionist spectacles of the mid-seventies in Vienna.
Zdenek Felix said: “West’s adaptives are situated somewhere between the poles of body and psyche. Through use by the public, they could definitely become objects for behavioral research. This would comply with the intentions of the artist who is much more interested in the handling of his ‘objects’ than their formal completion.” via the gagosian