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Counterconsciousness – Stephen Willats [de Karlsruhe]

Counterconsciousness – Stephen Willats :: until November 21, 2010 :: Badischer Kunstverein, Waldstraße 3, D – 76133 Karlsruhe, Germany.

The Badischer Kunstverein is pleased to present the London artist Stephen Willats in an extensive solo exhibition. 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-dimensional 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 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. Several of these works have been shown rarely or never at all and were selected with the artist in a close process. 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.

COUNTERCONSCIOUSNESS offers a new and surprising perspective of Willats’ artistic practice, as the selected 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 two installations Living Like A Goya or Secret Prima Donna — from the surface into the space.

Willats’ works on the “counter-cultures” as specific movements contrary to the dominant system – such as the post-punk scene during the Thatcher era, the creatures of the night or the occupants of various wastelands – are exemplary displayed in the Kunstverein. A repeatedly occurring image in these works is the facade of modern tower block architecture, which represent a counter-image to the collective and individual needs of their residents. Thus the biographies of the punks or glue sniffers are often linked to the reality of their lives in the tower blocks, and it is from there that they set out on their “journeys” to the parallel worlds in the clubs and wastelands.

Stephen Willats (b. 1943) lives and works in London. He is one of the most important representatives of international Concept Art in England. Solo exhibitions (selection): The World As It Is And The World As It Could Be, Victoria Miro, London (2010); Cybernetic Still Life, BaliceHertling, 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)

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).

Supported by The Henry Moore Foundation and British Council

Friday, 22 October 2010, 8 pm
BOOK LAUNCH: Stephen Willats – ART SOCIETY FEEDBACK
Presentation of a comprehensive publication on Stephen Willats’ works from the 1960s till today, published by Anja Casser and Philipp Ziegler, Verlag für moderne Kunst Nürnberg. The book contains texts by Ute Meta Bauer, Brigitte Franzen, Tom Holert, Emily Pethick and Andrew Wilson as well as a selection of texts by the artist, some of which have not been published.


Sep 25, 18:38
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