Stephen Willats

Free Expression - Multiple Clothing, 1991

‘I consider clothing as an important area of strategy in art, as a territory of expression that takes the artist right into the realm of reality that is very much a parameter to people’s experience of society. So the works I have developed as clothing are made to be worn, though there is a clear difference for the wearer with the clothes they might normally wear, so that the act of wearing my clothes differentiates the experience from normality in the surrounding world. My intention is that in wearing one of these clothes you yourself become an integral manifestation of the work, and your internalization of the meaning of the work is through that act of wearing it, and subsequently what happens to you as a result. The works alter your interpersonal relationship with the other people you come into contact with, and alter their relationship with you….. Often with my clothing works people can directly intervene, and create the messages expressed by the work through changing variables, or by contributing new variables to some aspect of it, so here the work directly and dynamically involves more people than just the wearer.'
Multiple Clothing, Designs 1965 - 1999, Stephen willats, Pub. Walther König, Cologne, 2000

Free Expression involves more people than just the wearer as any message can be expressed by the wearer, or another person, directly onto the white panels that make up the body of the work, using the pens that are attached. It is an interactive work, messages can be written on and wiped off with the cleaning pads that are also attached.

Stephen Willats: Free Expression - Multiple Clothing

Free Expression, 1991. 52cm x 64cm. Ink, poster colour, Letraset text on paper