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© The Artist

Can you find a way to get us out of this place, 1976

Stephen Willats (b. 1943)

Held at the threshold

  • Medium:
    Photographs, Letraset and ink on card
  • Dimensions:
    3 parts, each 101.5 × 76 cm
  • Collection:
    Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London
  • Coll. No:
    AC 1836

In these works, Stephen Willats superimposes text on top of photographs of houses, buildings and industrial structures. These three images tell the stories of four neighbours. In what appears to be a group game, each person is given a role to navigate a scenario. The flow charts which outline the participants’ responses to these past, present and future situations give an eerie sense of a prescribed destiny. Using art to reflect on sociological structures, Willats shows the way in which the personal and socio-economic backgrounds of the inhabitants impact their ability to cross thresholds leading to – or preventing – future opportunities in life.