Stephen Willats

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About the Artist

From the early 1960s until today, Stephen Willats has situated his pioneering practice at the intersection between art and other disciplines such as cybernetics, advertising systems research, learning theory, communications theory and computer technology. In so doing, he has constructed and developed a collaborative, interactive and participatory practice grounded in the variables of social relationships, settings and physical realities.

In Focus

Stephen Willats: Going Round a Corner, North Ormesby, Middlesbrough 2016

 

An exclusive preview of a new film by Stephen Willats, ahead of his major exhibition Human Right at Mima, Middelsbrough (4 March – 4 June 2017). Shot in Middlesbrough, Going Round a Corner is one of a series that makes reference to the cybernetic concept of the strange attractor. The films will be shown in shop windows linking Mima with an off-site section of the exhibition at the Forbes Building in the town. Human Right surveys Willats’ practice from the late 1970s to the present day. The exhibition examines the relationship between personal narratives and social conditions and includes a newly commissioned project that, six months in the making, features four local people who have transformed their own situation and that of the community around them.

 

For six decades, Willats has concentrated on ideas that today are ever-present in contemporary art: communication, social engagement, active spectatorship, and self-organisation, and has initiated many seminal multi-media art projects everywhere from tennis clubs and public galleries to inner city housing estates. Outside of the norms and conventions of an object-based art world, Willats has developed work which reacts against what he sees as the historical determinism within art. Rather than presenting visitors with icons of certainty he creates a random, complex environment which stimulates visitors to engage in their own creative process rather than merely submitting to passive observation.

Previous exhibitions at Victoria Miro

13 March - 17 April 2014

Stephen Willats

REPRESENTING THE POSSIBLE
An exhibition which brings together previously unseen works on paper from the 1960s and the present day in a specially conceived installation. Willats' career is also currently celebrated in two further London exhibitions: CONTROL, the first survey of the artist's...
Victoria Miro Gallery I
7 May - 12 June 2010

Stephen Willats

THE WORLD AS IT IS AND THE WORLD AS IT COULD BE
THE WORLD AS IT IS AND THE WORLD AS IT COULD BE From the 1960's until today, London-based conceptual artist Stephen Willats has concentrated on ideas that today are ever-present in contemporary art: communication, social engagement, active spectatorship, and self-organization....
Victoria Miro Gallery I
2 - 30 September 2006

Stephen Willats

From My Mind To Your Mind
During the sixties and early seventies, Stephen Willats was one of the very few serious representatives of international Concept Art in England. Drawing upon wide-ranging artistic means, Willats attempts to comprehend the way in which individuals see a world that...
Victoria Miro Gallery I
11 September - 8 October 2002

Stephen Willats

Through Your Symbolic World
'Every cultural landscape requires its signposts, not just to get around in the present, to find out where and what things are, but to point to a vision of the future, to show a possible destiny. I see this as...
Victoria Miro Gallery I
27 June - 15 September 2001

Works on Paper

Group Exhibition (From Acconci to Zittel)
Giovanni Anselmo, Alex Katz, Lisa Yuskavage, Vito Acconci, Henry Moore, Dawn Mellor, Nicolas de Stael, Cecily Brown, Karen Kilimnik, Sue Williams, Inka Essenhigh, Rosemarie Trockel, John Currin, David Hockney David Smith, Paul Klee, Verne Dawson, Sonia Delaunay-Terk, Stephen Willats, Terry...
Victoria Miro Gallery I
7 May - 30 June 2000

Raw

Group Exhibition
Yayoi Kusama. Francesca Woodman, Robin Lowe, Adriana Varejão, Isaac Julien, Doug Aitken, Abigail Lane, Hadrian Pigott, Brad Lochore, Cecily Brown, Chris Ofili, Andreas Gursky, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Inez van Lamsweerde, Peter Doig, Thomas Demand, Stephen Willats, Dawn Mellor, Chantal Joffe,...
Victoria Miro Gallery I
8 July - 1 August 1997

Stephen Willats

Street Talk
Stephen Willats presents three major new works which celebrate the richness of urban life in London where each individual builds his own space and reality in the face of a bombardment of everyday sensations. Extending ideas in earlier collaborative projects,...
Victoria Miro Gallery II
5 - 28 July 1995

Temples

Group Exhibition
Juren Albrecht, Bernd & Hiller Becher, Thomas Demand, Andreas Gursky, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Alex Hartley, Keir Smith, Stephen Willats
Victoria Miro Gallery II
15 April - 13 May 1994

Stephen Willats

Random Life
Victoria Miro Gallery II
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