Stephen Willats

Time Tumbler

★★★★☆

Curated by Jelena Kristic
On until 13 January 2024

In half of this exhibition, the now octogenarian Stephen Willats does the internet. A series of watercolour, text, and photographic collages map abstractions like search engines and social networks with the artist’s familiar arsenal of arrows and diagrams. He orders fragments of time, matter, and space into data packets on one side of the flow chart and puts them to use on the other. The most alluring of these images have no trace of the human. The currents are orderly and the possibilities are endless. None of this theory is true, of course, but it’s hard not to look.

The illusion is troubled by the rest of the show which reprises Willats’ hits from the 1970s. There, social practice meets semiotic analysis. The artist’s time-and-motion studies of homemaking, street life, and the corporate boardroom are celebrated as potent critiques of social relationships that play contrary to the exuberance of late capitalism. Unnervingly, the method of this inquiry is the same as in Willat’s network suite. This forces a reconsideration of the seminal work’s value as ‘data’ and foregrounds its form.


notes and notices are short and curt exhibition reviews. Read more:

Alvaro Barrington, Grandma’s Land at Sadie Coles ★★★☆☆

Alvaro Barrington

Grandma’s Land

★★★☆☆

The party slumps into a half-voiced political complaint and never recovers. This is what happens when instead of living culture, we ‘celebrate’ it.

Choon Mi Kim, ACID—FREEEE at Ginny on Frederick ★☆☆☆☆

Choon Mi Kim

ACID—FREEEE

★☆☆☆☆

Some forms of abstraction simply scream ‘my kid could have made that’.

Vlatka Horvat, The Croatian Pavilion in Venice ★★☆☆☆

Vlatka Horvat

By the Means at Hand

★★☆☆☆

This closed circulation project speaks to and agrees with only itself.

Xie Nanxing, Hello, Portrait! at Thomas Dane ★★★★☆

Xie Nanxing

Hello, Portrait!

★★★★☆

Looking at Xie’s portraits is a little like wearing a virtual reality headset over only one eye.

Michael Simpson at Modern Art ★★★★☆

Michael Simpson

★★★★☆

In this meditation of surface disguised as a study of objects, neither is a truer likeness of the events.

Pope.L, Hospital at South London Gallery ★★★☆☆

Pope.L

Hospital

★★★☆☆

This project lands in the joke section of Animal Farm and not as a prophecy of the Jan 6th insurrection.

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