Stephen Willats, A to B, 1985
Due to the great successes the exhibition is prolonged from November 21th. 2010 to November 28th. 2010
The Badischer Kunstverein is pleased to present the London artist Stephen Willats in an extensive solo exhibition. The show, which comprises more than forty artworks, concentrates on Willats' works on the wasteland-, night- and post-punk context of the late 1970s and 1980s. The media range from photo, text and object collages to diagrams and large spatial installations. One room is especially devoted to books and texts by the artist and issues of the magazine Control, which he has edited and published since 1965.
From the 1960s until today, Stephen Willats has developed a pioneering practice based on collaboration, interactivity and participation within the variables of social relationships and settings. Willats creates multi-sensory, multi-dimen-sional environments to encourage viewers to engage with their own creative and cognitive processes, to re-examine and transform the way they perceive existing reality. The influences for his interactive and participative projects are situated at the interface between art and other scientific disciplines such as cybernetics, computer technology and theory of behaviour and learning. With reference to the methods of these disciplines, Willats develops a specific visual and semiotic language that analyses and illustrates various systems of social interaction.
The artist is especially interested in "counter-cultures" as specific movements contrary to the dominant system which are also a central topic of the exhibition. The selected works visualise occupants of urban wastelands in "Four Pressures, Four Freedoms" or "Two worlds. The Glue Sniffers Camp", skateboarders reclaiming the city in "The Kids Are in the Streets" or the club culture during the post-punk era in works like "Model Dwellings".
The combination of works in COUNTERCONSCIOUSNESS offers a new and surprising perspective of Willats' artistic practice, as the presented works are characterised less by order and precision that he is known for, than by an expressive handling of diverse colours, objects and materials. Priority is given here to the technique of collage: photographs are combined with texts and found materials, they are framed by coloured surfaces or developed sculpturally - as in the work "Secret Prima Donna" - from the surface into the space.
Cooperation partners for this project are the Centre d'art passerelle in Brest and Le Quartier, Centre d'art contemporain de Quimper, which will present their exhibitions with Stephen Willats in early 2011. The three institutions convey an extensive, yet also specific focus on the work by the British artist.
Stephen Willats (*1943) lives and works in London. He is one of the most important representatives of international Concept Art in England. From 1972 to 1973, Willats was Director of the Centre of Behavioural Art, Gallery House, London and from 1979 to 1980, fellow of the DAAD Berlin Artists-in-Resi-dence programme in West Berlin. Solo exhibitions (selection): The World As It Is and the World As It Could Be, Victoria Miro, London (2010); Cybernetic Still Life, Balice Hertling, Paris; In And Out The Underworld, European Kunsthalle, Cologne (2009); The Architecture of Stephen Willats, LWL-Landesmuseum für Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte, Münster; The Speculative Diagram, CASCO, Utrecht (2008), Assumptions and Presumptions, Art on the Underground, London; Person to Person, People to People, Milton Keynes Galley (2007).
The exhibition takes place in conjunction with Thermostat, Zusammenarbeit zwischen 24 centres d'art und Kunstvereinen (a cooperation among 24 art centres and art associations). An initiative of d.c.a und Institut français, with the kind support of The German Federal Cultural Foundation, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, Culturesfrance and the Commissioner for the Franco-German Cultural Cooperation.
Supported by The Henry Moore Foundation and British Council.