c. 1978

Mixed media Metal, wood, plaster, dispersion

260 x 50 x 45 cm (102 3/8 x 19 11/16 x 17 11/16 in.)

Underscoring its subject’s modesty, the sculpture Bettelstab (beggar's stick) consists of a simple metal rod attached to a base and topped with a concave disc, like an abstract face. White plaster gives it a certain aura, like a fetish or a sceptre from contemporary mythology.

The filiform work belongs to the vast body of Passstück (Alternatives), or "adaptive pieces", the white-painted plaster and papier-mâché sculptures that Franz West has been working on for decades. Based on an extremely simple, even crude implementation, formal design and avowed references to Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture, these spotless objects with an undefined symbolic function create a visual and haptic experience for the viewer.

Part of the Pinault Collection, Bettelstab was shown for the first time at the 2009 major group exhibition "Mapping the Studio" at the Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi in Venice.