Following several years in Paris as students (and actors with Theatre de l’Ange Fou – Compagnie Steve Wasson/Corrine Soum) Matthew Anthony Stokes co-founded the MAQUETTE Theatre Company in September 1989 with artists Robert Bennett, Dirk Hendrikx, Guillaume Panneau and Ulrike Koennecke.
At first living and working in a barn in semi-rural Kent in England and later in Brussels the company grew into a larger collective, including cameramen, photographers, actors, lighting technicians and supportive friends.
Due to an immediately strong, shared sense of artistic direction Stokes and Dirk Hendrikx found themselves at the helm of the company - and so together they designed, built and directed a dozen unique stage productions and films in England, Belgium, Holland and France.
Influenced from the outset by dada; punk; street theatre; amateur, poor and ‘outsider’ arts; early film and photoplay; automata - and by ancient and ethnological ‘primitive’ arts – Maquette’s experimental body of work took the form of a consecutive series of recorded performances, live “unveilings”, texts, drawings, sculptural exhibits, sound recordings and, most important to them, an archive of hundreds of outer-stellar photographs and a dozen short films.
The work culminated in a series of gallery exhibitions, most notably in the Museum of Modern Art in Gent (SMAK, 1997) and in the Museum of Art in Kortrijk (Belgium 1998). Also in 1998, the silent film ‘Adrift on the Remains of the Grand Piano’ (live musical composition by AKA Moon) was featured as part of the Brussels Festival of Art.
At this moment, just as interest in their work was snowballing fast, they chose collectively – for personal reasons – to disband. With the arbitrary choice of the year 2020 selected as a suitably distant future date from which to review, edit, reassess – perhaps to revive Maquette in some manner – they shelved the entire archive of their work and all involved went their separate ways.
In 1999, Stokes returned to England. He went into the study of architecture, received his degree from the University of Greenwich and then his diploma in 2005 from the University of Cambridge – and, after a couple of years at Foster and Partners in London, moved to Los Angeles where he currently lives and works as in-house architectural / furniture designer with Martyn Lawrence Bullard Design.
In February 2015, in a showroom called BEKING in the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, Stokes launched a new furniture line called WIGWAM (www.wigwam.us) based upon the designs for his own house recently completed in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
Matt has been drawing, painting and writing poetry since his early childhood.
He was born in Margate in England in 1964.