Victoria Miro, 16 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW
Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm. Admission Free
Victoria Miro is delighted to announce REPRESENTING THE POSSIBLE by Stephen Willats, 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 work from the sixties, is at Raven Row until 30 March, and CONCERNING OUR PRESENT WAY OF LIVING, an archive exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, will be on view from 4 March to 14 September 2014.
Drawing has been key throughout Willats' practice, often as a signifier of larger ideas. From the start of his career in the early 1960s, Willats's has rejected aesthetic expression in favour of positioning his drawings as active 'data', which offer a means to communicate a way of looking at and thinking about our environment. REPRESENTING THE POSSIBLE comprises four large-scale site-specific wall drawings that will transform the gallery's architecture into an immersive drawn environment with thirty-seven individual works floating upon their surfaces. The installation, a first for the artist on this scale, is designed to be experienced as a single work, with each individual drawing acting as a point of intersection that provides a variable, dynamic exchange between the viewer and their surroundings.
The act of drawing for Willats exists on multiple levels, each related but with specific outcomes, as he explains in a new text published to accompany the exhibition: "What as a thought is internal, transient and unfocussed, through the process of drawing becomes clear and possible; to be understood by someone else, from one person to another - a vehicle for social exchange. So the drawing can be both descriptive, in that it gives a view on something that already exists, or prescriptive, in that it seeks to represent something that does not yet exist, is only imagined as a possibility. Something only becomes a possibility once it exists as a thought".
Throughout his career Stephen Willats has situated his pioneering practice at the intersection between art and other disciplines such as cybernetics, 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 and settings. Willats creates multi-sensory, multi-dimensional environments to encourage viewers to engage with their own creative and cognitive processes. Relating to the everyday world, his work presents a vehicle of exchange through which viewers can re-examine and transform the way they perceive the fabric of existing reality.
Born in London in 1943, Stephen Willats was one of the very few serious representatives of international Concept Art in England during the sixties and seventies. Solo exhibitions include: CONTROL: WORK 1962-69, Raven Row, London (2014), Conscious Unconscious In and Out the Reality Check, Modern Art Oxford, Oxford (2013), Surfing with the Attractor, South London Gallery, London (2012) COUNTERCONSCIOUSNESS, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany (2010) In Two Minds, Galerie Erna Hecey, Brussels (2010) Assumptions and Presumptions, Art on the Underground, London (2007) From my Mind to Your Mind, Milton Keynes Gallery, (2007); How the World is and How it could be, Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Siegen (2006); Changing Everything, South London Art Gallery, (1998); Meta Filter and Related Works, Tate Gallery London (1982); 4 Inseln, in Berlin, National Gallery, Berlin, (1980) and Concerning our Present Way of Living, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, (1979). In the 1960's, he founded the magazine Control, still in publication.
An illustrated publication with a text addressing key themes of his drawings written by Stephen Willats will accompany the exhibition.