Mot International

Stephen Willats

11 Apr - 24 May 2014

© Stephen Willats
A Difficult Boy In a Concrete Block, 1983
photographic prints, pencil, crayon, ink, photographic dye on paper
130 x 80 cm
Concrete Block, drawings and works on paper 1978-2005
11 April – 24 May 2014

MOTINTERNATIONAL Brussels are pleased to announce the third exhibition of Stephen Willats with the gallery and the first solo exhibition in Belgium devoted to his drawings and works on paper.
A key figure in conceptual art since the 1960s, Stephen Willats has a long, and well documented, association with modern buildings. While there have been many major exhibitions of his wider building-related works, an essential part of his practice has always been the role of drawing and graphic work in representing key concepts surrounding the reality of ‘the modern building’ in contemporary life. Exhibited works in ink, pencil, watercolour and collage from 1978-2005 express Willats’ fluidity in and sustained preoccupation with the medium.

‘Where Do I Belong’, the exhibition’s earliest work, takes the form of a diagram to network a young women with a series of unoccupied sites; a housing estate and surrounding wasteland. The work is constructed to a specific conceptual model which examines her potential within the surroundings, identifying the ‘hidden values’ in sites outside of institutional structures.

A significant tool which Willats has used since the 1950s, diagrammatic forms similarly organise drawings such as Conceptual Tower Series No.9 and Tower Block Drawing No.1, while works such as Tower Block Drawing No.2 chart inter-connective signs, symbols and objects. The image of the modern tower block is reprised throughout the exhibition in cell-like black and white grids. Exploring architectures of social housing the drawings model flows of information and map social relationships.
In ‘A Work Involving Three Culturally Separated Institutions’ (1987) Willats delineates a direct exchange between action performed outside the building with polemics contained within the interior space of the gallery. The artist’s drawings however, are not illustrative; rather they are speculative, active proposals which consider how art might be used to mobilise self-organising systems.

Stephen WIllats was born in 1943 in London, England where he works and lives. In 2014 three hugely important exhibitions dedicated to his work have been held at Raven Row, Whitechapel Gallery, and Victoria Miro in London. Solo exhibitions include: COUNTER-CONSCIOUSNESS, 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).

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