Stephen Willats

Languages of Dissent

A pioneer of conceptual art: a new encounter with Stephen Willats


Title Information

Edited by Heike Munder. With contributions from Bornaċ Ferran, John Kelsey, Heike Munder, and Andrew Wilson

1st edition

, 2019

Text German and English


230 pages, 89 color und 158 b/w illustrations

20 x 27 cm

ISBN 978-3-85881-648-1

In collaboration with the Migros Museum of Contemporary Art, Zurich


Born in London in 1943, Stephen Willats is a pioneer of conceptual art and has, over the course of more than five decades, created a multi-faceted body of work. This new book, published in conjunction with Migros Museum of Contemporary Art in Zurich, focuses on two key aspects of Willats’ art. Cybernetics, the control of dynamic systems, in which he has taken a keen interest, serves him as method, aesthetic vocabulary, as well as a formal model. Subcultures that promote non-conformism and self-determination constitute another focal point in his wide-ranging work.

The book offers a new approach to Willats’ art from multiple different perspectives. A comprehensive selection of both earlier and more recent works, some of them published here for the first time, is complemented by essays. The authors investigate that particular creative sphere in between cybernetics, architecture, and subculture within which Willats questions normative, regulating power structures and aims to discover personal freedom and alternative thought patterns.

Authors & Editors

Bornaċ Ferran

John Kelsey

Heike Munder

 is director of Migros Museum of Contemporary Art in Zurich since 2001.

Andrew Wilson

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Please send the following high resolution images:


Stephen Willats, Visual Transmitter No. 2, 1968. © Private collection

Stephen Willats, Meta Filter, 1975. © Museé d’art contemporain de Lyon

Stephen Willats, Conceptual Tower Series No. 10, 1987. © Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London

Stephen Willats, A to B, 1985. © Courtesy the artist

Stephen Willats, A Difficult Boy in a Concrete Block,1983. © Collection Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst

Stephen Willats, VDU Transformation Series No. 9, 1989. © Private Sammlung


All images printed must come with respective picture credit and may only be published in connection with a book review containing the publishing house, the title of the book and names of editors or authors.


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