Bricks have appeared in controversial art displays in the Tate Modern (Equivalent VIII aka “a pile of bricks”, Carl Andre, 1976); bricks have formed a canvas for graffiti writers for decades and, to state the bleeding obvious, a lot of galleries are made of bricks! Now the intersection between art and bricks is now built on and extended by the artist known as Brickflats. Our favourite wall repairer, who has been replacing holes in walls with solid resin blocks in London and several overseas cities since 2021 currently has his first gallery style display in the window of a Dickensian looking shop window in London’s Soho and there’s mortar it than meets the eye.
Just like their street predecessors these bricks’ occupants are squashed into their tiny and congested living spaces, riffing on the theme of the crazy space and comfort sacrifices for the pleasure of living in London.
There’s room for humour too, in a tiny apartment you’d have quite a battle trying to evict a Piranha plant.
The form of the all-brick edifice mimics a London tower block. In our 2022 interview Brickflats remarked that London’s council homes have a very distinctive brick construction unlike those found anywhere else. Each layer of bricks in simulates a floor in the block. In the streets each Brickflat is found in splendid isolation but in the tower format the occupants have neighbours. So close to so many yet so alone.
Those mullioned windows suggest a cliché of some rose tinted twee London past but the brickflats within are utilitarian in construction and minimalist in interior décor, formed and constrained by the economic necessities of these times.
In their un-curtained spaces the Brickflats’ privacy is invaded the prying eyes peeping through a West End shop window, not that these exhibitionists mind.
With the humour, clever scene setting and super bright pop coloration the display had cemented the artist’s reputation.
Brickflats in Soho
Nov 2023 – January 2024. 24/7
62 Dean Street, W1D 4QF
all photos Dave Stuart