Franz West / Otto Zitko

Who's Who, 1992

Having the shape of two stools and giving the impression of having been arbitrarily constructed, the sculpture seems temporary and interventional. On the other hand, its significance as a sacrosanct work of art is underlined by the concrete pedestal. The sculpture enables a conversation between two people sitting down, allowing us to obtain quick knowledge of ‘who is who’, thus attracting the unconscious. The dialectic between work of art and everyday object runs parallel to the self and the other. Herewith, the artwork acknowledges that it wants to be used and also refers to the possibilities of communication.


In West’s work, sculpture as an extension of the human body means that furniture is taken back to sculpture and Man’s basic needs such as sleep, rest, contemplation or communication are not left to an object of use or to design, but are woven into art as essential states in life.


Thus for all his sculptural work, Man is the gauge; West’s pieces of furniture link up Man with his subconscious mind, Man with the ground he is bound to, as well as connecting people.

In the seemingly randomly bound up form of two stools, the sculpture appears provisional and interventionist on the one hand, whilst on the other highlighting its meaning as an untouchable sculpture, being placed on a concrete pedestal by West. Being deprived of their ephemeral meaning, the stools become a statement, which can be both read as permeable structure and as a sculpture, and as an invitation to interaction.


West creates an allurement through a combination of attraction and rejection. The meaning of absence, possibilities and temporal limitations is as important as the human transitory possibility on an enduring material.


West offers both stools, for conversation or a psychological session, thus enticing the subconscious into inter-subjectivity, and inviting a short-lived understanding of “Who is who”. The dialectic element between a work of art and an object of everyday use runs parallel to the one between movement and rigour, between self and alien.

Communicating whilst sitting down on a hand-made piece of art lets us feel the mutual entailment of hand and word, at the same time making reference to the fact that this piece of art strives for practical use, as well as to the question of meaningfulness and the possibility of communication and understanding.

Author: Elisabeth Fiedler
Plan & Overview: Position 23
Owner: [Federal Arthotek]
Biography: Franz West  

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