The Franz West Archive has been in existence for 20 years. It was founded in conjunction with the artist’s first retrospective, which was conceived by curator Eva Badura-Triska over several years of research and shown in 1996 under the title of Proforma at the mumok (Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig) in Vienna. The Archive was founded together with Franz West himself immediately following this exhibition. Since 1999, it has been run in the organizational form of a “Verein” [registered association].
The Archive rests on two bodies of knowledge: on an earlier archive set up in 1985 and maintained until 1997 by Galerie Peter Pakesch, which registered above all West’s output during that period, and on Eva Badura-Triska’s extensive working documents for the exhibition Proforma. The latter element includes the first-ever documentation of numerous works that West had sold himself before becoming associated with Pakesch. The curator, who engaged in numerous conversations with the artist, his associates, and further contemporaries, succeeded in compiling comprehensive detailed information on these and other works, information that was then cataloged and given scholarly treatment by the Archive. Since then, the Franz West Archive has continuously striven to amass the most complete possible store of information on the artist’s output.
For the rest of his life, Franz West supported this work with enthusiasm and an equal measure of generosity. And in order to ensure that his archive would continue to exist after his death, West transferred exclusive use rights to his works to the registered association Archiv Franz West. These rights apply to the construction and sale of eight furniture designs, each of which he created as an open series. Furthermore, West ceded to the Archive the irrevocable and temporally, spatially, and substantively unlimited exclusive rights to the use of all analog and digital photographs of his artworks, regardless of these images’ creators. This also includes the right to have artworks photographed.
The activities of the association Archiv Franz West are non-profit in nature.
The Archive’s mission is to document and promote study of Franz West’s creative work in the most complete way possible.
The tasks and services it performs encompass:
Collection of information and documents in the form of text and images, as well as knowledge provided by contemporary witnesses
Preservation of this information in a research archive with the following structure:
- record of West’s works (analog and digital)
- archive of texts
- photographic collection (pictorial archive)
- collection of films and videos
- collection of posters
- further documents an archive of texts
Consulting and General Support of academic and artistic projects focused on or having to do with the artistic work of Franz West (exhibitions, research projects, publications, etc.)
Evaluation of the authenticity of works attributed to Franz West
Exercise and granting of use rights transferred to the Archive by Franz West
Communication and Publishing of information and documents (catalogues raisonnés; film, video, and text editions; etc.); organization of symposia
The Franz West Archive functions as an informational contact point and supports all activities that serve to further research on and presentation of Franz West’s oeuvre.