I first came across the work of artist Stephen Wright in a small boutique in Brixton Village called Brixi. A mixture of tapestry and mosaic techniques, Wright’s work is immediately eye-catching and engaging, if not a little on the wild side. As a fan of all things kitsch, the way that Wright combines materials, objects and imagery seemed wonderful to me. Large scale embroidered tapestries have been photographed and interpreted into beautiful prints that have not lost any of their texture and the abstract qualities that make them interesting.

Stephen is currently exhibiting some of his work on the first floor of the legendary patisserie and art gallery Maison Bertaux on Greek Street in Soho until mid June.

Having seen Stephen’s work for the first time, I immediately found out about his current project, the ‘House of Dreams’, from his website. An ongoing project, Stephen is gradually turning the ground floor of his house in East Dulwich into what feels like a living, breathing piece of art. The house has now been bequeathed to the National Trust, and consequently will be open to visitors long after it is completed. Before visiting, and having seen the aesthetic of Stephen’s work and a few images of the house online, I had a fairly good idea of the sort of sensory assault I was expecting. It certainly lived up to those expectations. Instantly visible upon the terraced street, every surface is covered in literally everything – objects from all over the world, ranging from the utterly mundane to the outright bizarre. You could walk around the house for days on end and each time you would still spot a detail that you had overlooked before. However, I also experienced something more, which I hadn’t expected. The house isn’t just an artwork, but more of a museum of Stephen’s life. It is incredibly personal – full of stories and moments from all stages of his life – as well as all of the objects, themes, and issues that are currently consuming him. The combination of this provides an all-encompassing and truly unique story, straight from the artist himself. One might have thought that the house would seem claustrophobic and chaotic, but in a strange way it almost feels like everything is in it’s correct place, which is a true feat. Unfortunately, I was not able to take any photos as work is currently in progress towards a book documenting the House of Dreams and the journey that Stephen has been on, which is a very exciting prospect. But these images taken from an interview with Stephen in ‘Dulwich On View’ should give you a taster.

The House of Dreams is having an open day this Saturday (the 2nd of June) between 11am and 4pm. Booking is required. I felt I had such a personal experience from going there – and strongly recommend it to anyone with an erring towards to kitsch. There will also be another open day on the 7th of July.

http://www.stephenwrightartist.co.uk/house-of-dreams.html
http://www.maisonbertaux.com/maisonbertaux.com/Maison_Bertaux.html
http://dulwichonview.org.uk/2011/01/28/welcome-to-the-house-of-dreams/

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