At the core of Liam Gillick's work we find a complex set of extremely topical and deeply correlated themes: the relationship with space – meant not only as a physical but also as a political, social and economic space – the central role of the spectator as an active agent and producer of meaning, the world of communication and the relationships between the late-capitalism economy, art and institutions.
From the very beginning, Gillick has placed the dialogue with the spectator at the centre of his work, through the creation of situations – both formal and performance-connected – in which certain parameters linked to the fruition of art, to the functioning of the institutions responsible for it, to the creation and transmission of the concept of value are critically questioned.
Gillick has an extremely diverse practice that includes large-scale public works, collaborations, graphic work and writing. This diversity is in constant tension with his commitment to a contemporary form of abstraction. Modular geometric structures, often made of Plexiglas and aluminium, hint at earlier progressive design movements such as De Stijl and explicitly reference modernist design aesthetics. The titles allude to discursive practices and often designate spaces where such ideas may be considered and reimagined. With these works, Gillick also makes explicit reference to the tradition of minimalist sculpture – especially to the pure forms, materials and industrial procedures used by the American artists Donald Judd and Sol Lewitt – but he includes within them an awareness of how the potential of minimalist aesthetics has been absorbed and neutralized by contemporary corporate architecture and entertainment structures.