Ian Wilson has been exploring the aesthetic potential of spoken language since the late 1960s. His ongoing body of work—beginning with “oral communication” and eventually including his signature Discussions—began in 1968 with the spoken word “time”. The artist, who began as a painter, soon transformed the act of discussion into his sole artistic medium. Over four decades, the focus of these exchanges has shifted from time to the nature of knowledge and non-knowledge, and awareness of ‘the Absolute’. His works are not recorded or photographed in any way, and exist only as long as the conversation itself. Wilson’s desire for abstraction first manifested as paintings that explored and tested the limits of perception. Although Wilson’s early paintings and sculptures are clearly physical objects, they also signal an inclination to take reduction and abstraction one-step further, to the point of ridding art of physical properties altogether.
The exhibition inaugurates the first season of director Krist Gruijthuijsen’s artistic program at KW, which examines Wilson’s work through three corresponding solo presentations by Hanne Lippard, Adam Pendleton, and Paul Elliman. Wilson’s work will be physically and conceptually embedded within each exhibition, serving as a framework for exploring roles of language and communication, and the broader significance of interaction between human beings. The exhibition is therefore in constant flux and changes gradually throughout the course of its duration.
In the spirit of Wilson’s practice, weekly commissioned performances, readings, lectures, and events titled The Weekends take place at KW, and throughout the city of Berlin.