Encounter with Franz West
At the Rubens Square in Knokke, Franz West's Lemur Heads (2004) are two prominent figures facing each other. The sculptures have a signalling function (the pedestals under the sculptures lead to the underground car park), but ultimately they give an existence to the square. The Rubens Square is traditionally a place where children run around and the elderly enjoy the view from a bench. By touching the imagination of both children and their (grand)parents, West creates a social intermezzo between generations. Although the sea is nearby, the triangular coloured surface, with its tonalities of blues and greys, also contains a certain wave motion. It is almost a second sea. It is precisely what the sculptures endure, because West always links these sculptures to water spots. He has previously placed four sculptures on the corners of a bridge over a river in Vienna.
The amorphous forms of Lemur Heads are a recurring theme in West's oeuvre. Part of his work is built around the imperative of the sense of touch. His Passstücke (Adaptives), which he developed in the mid-1970s, were portable sculptures whose forms arose from layers of tactile manipulation. They were sculptures with a utilitarian function that actively invited the public to manipulate them and that brought about an interaction between sculpture and body. As an artist, West literally gave his audience a place. Art became a social experience. This intention was also continued through his furniture pieces. Franz West began his creative life during the rise of performance art, he was one of the most important protagonists of the Austrian and international art scene.