From the Back Cover
Architects may provide the blueprints for the spaces in which we live and work, but artist Stephen Willats demonstrates that the significance of buildings is determined as much by their occupiers as by the vision of their designers. Within the apparent monotony of inner–city estates and street upon street of terraced houses, variety appears as each unit is modified by its inhabitants.
Beyond the Plan is a book about the ways in which we transform our own personal space as an expression of ourselves, whilst still dwelling within structures imposed on us by architects and planners. It centres around a series of interviews carried out by Willats with people living on estates in London, Bath and Berlin between the late 1970s and late 1990s, which led to the creation of interactive and participatory artworks that were often presented in the same buildings in which those people lived. They examine the personalisation of the dwelling space itself, the individualisation of the immediate environment, and the ways in which adjacent spaces such as wastelands and allotments are turned into places of escape. In the accompanying essays, Willats explains why, as an artist, he centred his work on the polemics of modern building, and sets out the conclusions he has drawn from the exchanges he has had with residents – the common attitudes he has discovered across boundaries of age, taste and social background.
Beyond the Plan will appeal to anyone with an interest in the controversial area between people and architecture, made all the more poignant in being perceived by an artist working directly with people in the environment of new residential building.
About the Author
Since the late 1950s, STEPHEN WILLATS has been producing pioneering artworks that take the role of the artist into the community. His work has been exhibited in many major galleries throughout the world including the Tate Gallery in his home city of London, the National Gallerie in Berlin and the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. In 1990 he convened the international symposium ′Art Creating Society′ at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford. He continues to edit Control magazine, which he founded in 1965 as a forum for artists to articulate their vision of the future of art in society.