Stephen Willats

Universal Meaning, 1979

One of the basic assumptions that underlies transmissional communication networks is that the meaning of language can be universal. In art practice such an assumption is reinforced by the idea that an artwork as object can be successfully transferred from place to place. Of course, though an artwork’s universality may be proclaimed, everyone knows its actual performance is bound by context, especially so when the artist de-constructs and then re-constructs reality. Here reality has been taken by the artist to be uniquely his own experience, and by encoding it into a symbolic state, it can be relayed to the audience via their engagement with his artwork.


Printed in Society Through Art, Stephen Willats, Haags Centrum voor Aktuele Kunst, Den Haag, 1990