How Others See Us and How We See Ourselves, 2012
How Others See Us and How We See Ourselves
Four Panels, each panel 112cm x 76cm
Photographic prints, photographic dye, acrylic paint, ink, Letraset text on card
'A paradigmatic staging of Willats' central motif concerning the way in which social relationships between individuals are formed as the foundation of society, emerges in a work from 2012. The four-part photographic/textual work How Others See Us and How We See Ourselves depicts a young woman and a young man interacting in various situations - in conversation, perusing documents, sitting on a sofa. They are surrounded by photographic images of different fashionable objects and details from the minimalist interiorof the apartment in which they encounter one another. Key words such as 'individualists', 'consumers', 'entrepreneurs', 'workers' or 'creatives' suggest possible identities, whereas quotations, such as 'Making a good connection' (panel 1), 'Searching for the attractor', (Panel 2), 'Finding common ground', (Panel 3) and 'Speaking with one voice', (Panel 4) indicate the progress of their approach and the increasing complexity of their relationship - visually mirrored in the small diagrams on each panel. Ultimately, however, the questions regarding the perception and assessment of them as persons, self-perception and external perception, process of projection and transfer, and the nature of their relationship are destined to remain speculative - it is up to the viewer to decide which interpretation will be accepted and which rejected. The fourth panel also reads 'Spectators'. Willats is hereby naming that ever-present dimension in his art: for it is the viewers who assemble the individual fragments and disparate information, establish relationships, interpret codes and signs, duly creating their own symbolic world out of these components. They may be encouraged and guided by the proposition contained in the artwork, but the conclusions they draw rest with them - and the process is always an act of self-empowerment.'
Astrid Wege, The Artist As Instigator, in Conscious Unconscious - In and Out the Reality Check, catalogue published on the occasion of the exhibition, Modern Art Oxford, 2013