Dennis Oppenheim and Stephen Willats

Dennis Oppenheim and Stephen Willats

MOT International

Left: Dennis and Chandra Oppenheim, Ground Gel, 1972. Right: Stephen Willats, Difficult Boy In A Concrete Block, 1983.

April 9, 2014

Dennis Oppenheim
2 April–17 May 2014

72 New Bond Street, 1st Floor
London W1S 1RR

Stephen Willats
11 April–24 May 2014

Place du Petit Sablon, 10
Brussels B-1000

MOTINTERNATIONAL London are pleased to announce its second solo exhibition of Dennis Oppenheim, a key figure of American Conceptual Art. Having first worked with the artist in 2006, the gallery has represented Oppenheim since 2012.

During the four decades of his practice, Dennis Oppenheim employed all available methods: writing, action, performance, video, film, photography, and installation. This exhibition marks the intersection between land and body art by bringing together three rarely seen works from the 1970s: Go-Between, 1972; Ground Gel, 1972 and Wishing the Mountains Madness, 1977.

Ground Gel records the disappearance of the artist and his daughter as he spins her at arm’s length. The bird’s-eye images diagrammatically map an exchange of catalytic energy in which Oppenheim exceeds the actual material boundaries of his own singular form; his daughter becomes an extension as she is projected past him in time and space. Originally a performance, the exhibition presents both the video installation and photodocumentation of the project. Go-Between, a video installation on two monitors, makes further explicit exchanges of action. In what first appears to be a playful family scuffle, Dennis and Phyllis Oppenheim place themselves between two of their children, experiencing directly the blows which the siblings aim at each other.

In Wishing the Mountains Madness Oppenheim again makes use of the aerial view. Here, an array of stars are scattered on land and the sky is projected onto earth. The ground becomes a star field in a moment of temporal symmetry, captured within the form of photographic documentation. The artist relates how the serenity of Montana brought him to think about what its inversion could mean in relation to shifting geographical, physical and psychological boundaries.

Dennis Oppenheim’s (1938–2011) many solo exhibitions include The Henry Moore Institute, UK; The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Gallery, London and the Venice and Sao Paolo Biennales.

MOTINTERNATIONAL Brussels are delighted to present the third exhibition of Stephen Willatswith the gallery, and the first solo exhibition in Belgium devoted to his drawings and works on paper.

A key figure in conceptual art since the 1960s, Stephen Willats has a long, and well documented, association with modern buildings. While there have been many major exhibitions of his wider building-related works, an essential part of his practice has always been the role of drawing and graphic work in representing key concepts surrounding the reality of ‘the modern building’ in contemporary life. Exhibited works in ink, pencil, watercolour and collage from 1978–2005 express Willats’ fluidity in and sustained preoccupation with the medium.

Diagrammatic forms act as a significant tool which Willats has used since the 1950s, organising drawings such as Conceptual Tower Series No.9 and Tower Block Drawing No.1. Works such as Tower Block Drawing No.2 chart inter-connective signs, symbols and objects. The image of the modern tower block is reprised throughout the exhibition in cell-like black and white grids. Exploring architectures of social housing the drawings model flows of information and map social relationships.

In A Work Involving Three Culturally Separated Institutions (1987) Willats delineates a direct exchange between action performed outside the building with polemics contained within the interior space of the gallery. The artist’s drawings however, are not illustrative; rather they are speculative, active proposals which consider how art might be used to mobilise self-organising systems.

Stephen Willats (b. 1943) is based in London, where he has had three important solo exhibitions at Raven Row, Whitechapel Gallery, and Victoria Miro this year. Solo exhibitions include Badischer Kunstverein, Germany; Galerie Erna Hecey, Brussels; Art on the Underground, London; Milton Keynes Gallery, UK; Museum for Contemporary Art Siegen, Germany; South London Art Gallery; Tate, London and National Gallery, Berlin.

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April 9, 2014

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