About Stephen Willats

Stephen Willats is a pioneer of conceptual art, who since the early 1960s has created work concerned with extending the terrain in which art operates. Concerned with interdisciplinary processes and theory from sociology, systems analysis, cybernetics, semiotics, and philosophy, Willats has made significant contributions to the fields of contemporary art and social engagement. Consistently challenging traditional notions of art by exploring the intersections of human interaction, technology, and communication, early works such as Meta Filter (1973-75) used everyday objects to examine the dynamics of social relationships and urban environments. In addition to his art practice, Willats has been a prolific writer, publishing numerous essays and books that delve into the theoretical underpinnings of his work. Born 1943, London, Willats stood as a key figure in British Concept Art during the 1960s and 1970s. Recent exhibitions include: Coded: Art Enters the Computer Age, 1952 - 1982 Los Angeles County Museum (2023); Social Resource Project for Tennis Clubs, Bonington Gallery (2022); Languages of Dissent, Migros Museum (2019); Human Right, MIMA (2017); THISWAY, Index Foundation (2016); Man from the 21st Century, Museo Tamayo (2014-2015); Control: Work 1962-69, Raven Row (2014); Conscious Unconscious In and Out the Reality Check, Modern Art Oxford (2013); Surfing with the Attractor, South London Gallery (2012); The Logic of Association, MoMA PS1 (2011); The Strange Attractor, Gallery Reena Spaulings (2011); COUNTERCONSCIOUSNESS, Badischer Kunstverein (2010); Assumptions and Presumptions, Art on the Underground (2007); Protest And Survive, Whitechapel Art Gallery (2000); Changing Everything, South London Art Gallery (1998); Meta Filter and Related Works, Tate Gallery (1982); Concerning Our Present Way of Living, Whitechapel Art Gallery (1979); Kunst Licht Kunst, Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (1966). In 1965, Willats founded Control magazine, which is still active today.