Learning To Live Within A Confined Space, 1978
4 panels each 132cm x 100cm
Photographic prints, ink, Letraset text, gouache on card
Collection Migros Museum, Zurich
The pressures exerted by a confined physical world on to social consciousness form the area of attention of the work ‘Living Within Contained Conditions’. The work directly references to the actual lives of four inhabitants of the Friars Wharf Estate in Oxford. This 1960s estate is geographically isolated from other neighbourhoods by the river, roads and car parks.
For Willats, the estate could be viewed as a symbolic context within which the physical, economic, social boundaries and contained reality of peoples’ lives could be contained.
In the work each of the four panels focuses on one or two of the estate residents and their perception of an aspect of life on the estate. The four perceptions are: self reality; domestic reality; economic reality and cultural reality and are represented as a sequence across the work.
In the four panels, the residents are depicted within a schematic matrix, which draws links between photographs of each individual or couple, placing them within the architectural context and then below in their own domestic space. The texts present questions linked to the differing realities each panel is illustrating and then a quote from the participant/s suggesting their view of a solution