If you think your Canary Wharf flat is cramped, take a trip to Trinity Buoy Wharf and meet the man who lived in an egg.
British artist Stephen Turner set up home in a 40ft wooden structure floating on the river in the New Forest for more than a year as part of his project Exbury Egg. It was aimed at highlighting climate change and he explored the area, and later an estuary on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, cataloguing his experiences via digital imagery, objects, drawings and maps.
He said: “Waking up each morning in the egg, a symbol of new beginnings and creation, was a very emotional experience.
“We are increasingly disconnected from nature and I wanted to nurture re-enchantment with the natural world, as a step toward a sustainable future.”
The 62-year-old has now evolved the project into a touring exhibition Stephen Turner: Everything Comes From The Egg which runs at Trinity Buoy Wharf on January 12-29.
Visitors will be able to get an up close look at the egg, bleached by sun, scoured by wind and coloured by algae and step inside to see where Stephen lived and worked.
His methods include collecting river water to observe sedimentation, creating glass jars filled with fauna and flora preserved in alcohol, upcycling clothing by patterning the fabric with natural dyes, drawing on discarded packaging using inks sourced from oak leaves and creating small egg-shaped sculptures from other natural materials.
He said: “The egg is a bit like an alchemist’s den with things brewing in jars and my pans still on the cooker, as if I have just stepped out to take a photograph of a heron.
“Living in the egg was at it’s most difficult in the height of summer when the large window acted like a magnifying glass and it got incredibly hot inside.
It is located in The Chainstore warehouse by the Thames – the first time the Egg has resided in an enclosed environment – and forms the central sculptural for an exhibition of drawings, prints, photographs, a cabinet of curiosities, works on paper, sculptures and video made by the artist during the last few years.
Stephen won’t be living in the egg during his time in London but will commuting from his home in Gravesend to Stratford and then going on foot and via kayak to explore places and communities in and around Bow Creek and the River Lea. He will talk to people he meets about how it is changing and will share his experiences via Periscope and in person at the exhibition every day from 4-5pm.
He said: “Trinity Buoy Wharf is a wonderful place. I was here in 2001 with an exhibition of tidal maps and have very strong memories of the Pura Foods factory. There is no trace of that now and so much is still changing here which has surprised me.
“It will be interesting to get out my old diaries and look at what has changed within just a short period of my lifetime.”
The venue will also be hosting a free children’s activity guide inspired by the exhibition, with families invited to sit on sofas and rugs within the exhibition and pick up a 12-page activity booklet created by White Wall Yellow Door.
Stephen said: “I’m looking forward to seeing what younger visitors make of the exhibition. I hope the activity guide inspires them to think about the different ways, even in very urban context, we can connect with our natural environment.”
Stephen Turner: Everything Comes From the Egg, January 12-29, Tuesday to Friday noon to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am to 4pm. Admission free.
The Chainstore, Trinity Buoy Wharf, 64 Orchard Place, London E14 0JY
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