Architecture

Gallery: The ambitious urban surrealism of Alex Chinneck

Gallery: The ambitious urban s...
From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes gave the impression a facade was slipping off the building, revealing a top floor usually hidden behind brickwork
From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes gave the impression a facade was slipping off the building, revealing a top floor usually hidden behind brickwork
View 57 Images
Growing up gets me down contorts a grandfather clock into an unlikely position
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Growing up gets me down contorts a grandfather clock into an unlikely position
A pound of flesh for 50p – displayed a slowly melting house, made out of wax bricks, disappearing over two months
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A pound of flesh for 50p – displayed a slowly melting house, made out of wax bricks, disappearing over two months
A pound of flesh for 50p – displayed a slowly melting house, made out of wax bricks, disappearing over two months
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A pound of flesh for 50p – displayed a slowly melting house, made out of wax bricks, disappearing over two months
Telling the truth through false teeth – one of Chinneck's first large-scale installations
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Telling the truth through false teeth – one of Chinneck's first large-scale installations
From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes gave the impression a facade was slipping off the building, revealing a top floor usually hidden behind brickwork
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From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes gave the impression a facade was slipping off the building, revealing a top floor usually hidden behind brickwork
Take my lightning but don't steal my thunder displayed a building split into two and seemingly hovering
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Take my lightning but don't steal my thunder displayed a building split into two and seemingly hovering
Take my lightning but don't steal my thunder displayed a building split into two and seemingly hovering
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Take my lightning but don't steal my thunder displayed a building split into two and seemingly hovering
Take my lightning but don't steal my thunder displayed a building split into two and seemingly hovering
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Take my lightning but don't steal my thunder displayed a building split into two and seemingly hovering
Take my lightning but don't steal my thunder displayed a building split into two and seemingly hovering
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Take my lightning but don't steal my thunder displayed a building split into two and seemingly hovering
Under the weather but over the moon turned a couple of buildings upside down, making the familiar defiantly unfamiliar
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Under the weather but over the moon turned a couple of buildings upside down, making the familiar defiantly unfamiliar
Under the weather but over the moon turned a couple of buildings upside down, making the familiar defiantly unfamiliar
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Under the weather but over the moon turned a couple of buildings upside down, making the familiar defiantly unfamiliar
Under the weather but over the moon turned a couple of buildings upside down, making the familiar defiantly unfamiliar
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Under the weather but over the moon turned a couple of buildings upside down, making the familiar defiantly unfamiliar
Under the weather but over the moon turned a couple of buildings upside down, making the familiar defiantly unfamiliar
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Under the weather but over the moon turned a couple of buildings upside down, making the familiar defiantly unfamiliar
A pound of flesh for 50p displayed a slowly melting house, made out of wax bricks, disappearing over two months
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A pound of flesh for 50p displayed a slowly melting house, made out of wax bricks, disappearing over two months
A pound of flesh for 50p displayed a slowly melting house, made out of wax bricks, disappearing over two months
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A pound of flesh for 50p displayed a slowly melting house, made out of wax bricks, disappearing over two months
A pound of flesh for 50p displayed a slowly melting house, made out of wax bricks, disappearing over two months
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A pound of flesh for 50p displayed a slowly melting house, made out of wax bricks, disappearing over two months
A pound of flesh for 50p displayed a slowly melting house, made out of wax bricks, disappearing over two months
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A pound of flesh for 50p displayed a slowly melting house, made out of wax bricks, disappearing over two months
A pound of flesh for 50p displayed a slowly melting house, made out of wax bricks, disappearing over two months
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A pound of flesh for 50p displayed a slowly melting house, made out of wax bricks, disappearing over two months
A pound of flesh for 50p displayed a slowly melting house, made out of wax bricks, disappearing over two months
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A pound of flesh for 50p displayed a slowly melting house, made out of wax bricks, disappearing over two months
A pound of flesh for 50p displayed a slowly melting house, made out of wax bricks, disappearing over two months
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A pound of flesh for 50p displayed a slowly melting house, made out of wax bricks, disappearing over two months
A bullet from a shooting star speared a massive electricity tower into the ground
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A bullet from a shooting star speared a massive electricity tower into the ground
A bullet from a shooting star speared a massive electricity tower into the ground
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A bullet from a shooting star speared a massive electricity tower into the ground
A bullet from a shooting star speared a massive electricity tower into the ground
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A bullet from a shooting star speared a massive electricity tower into the ground
A bullet from a shooting star speared a massive electricity tower into the ground
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A bullet from a shooting star speared a massive electricity tower into the ground
A bullet from a shooting star speared a massive electricity tower into the ground
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A bullet from a shooting star speared a massive electricity tower into the ground
Pick yourself up and pull yourself together was a feat of structural engineering tearing up tarmac and supporting a car upside down
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Pick yourself up and pull yourself together was a feat of structural engineering tearing up tarmac and supporting a car upside down
Pick yourself up and pull yourself together was a feat of structural engineering tearing up tarmac and supporting a car upside down
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Pick yourself up and pull yourself together was a feat of structural engineering tearing up tarmac and supporting a car upside down
Pick yourself up and pull yourself together was a feat of structural engineering tearing up tarmac and supporting a car upside down
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Pick yourself up and pull yourself together was a feat of structural engineering tearing up tarmac and supporting a car upside down
Pick yourself up and pull yourself together was a feat of structural engineering tearing up tarmac and supporting a car upside down
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Pick yourself up and pull yourself together was a feat of structural engineering tearing up tarmac and supporting a car upside down
Pick yourself up and pull yourself together was a feat of structural engineering tearing up tarmac and supporting a car upside down
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Pick yourself up and pull yourself together was a feat of structural engineering tearing up tarmac and supporting a car upside down
Pick yourself up and pull yourself together was a feat of structural engineering tearing up tarmac and supporting a car upside down
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Pick yourself up and pull yourself together was a feat of structural engineering tearing up tarmac and supporting a car upside down
Pick yourself up and pull yourself together was a feat of structural engineering tearing up tarmac and supporting a car upside down
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Pick yourself up and pull yourself together was a feat of structural engineering tearing up tarmac and supporting a car upside down
Six pins and half a dozen needles is Chinneck's first permanent installation, which took a team of British engineers, steelworkers and brick layers 14 months to develop
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Six pins and half a dozen needles is Chinneck's first permanent installation, which took a team of British engineers, steelworkers and brick layers 14 months to develop
Six pins and half a dozen needles is Chinneck's first permanent installation, which took a team of British engineers, steelworkers and brick layers 14 months to develop
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Six pins and half a dozen needles is Chinneck's first permanent installation, which took a team of British engineers, steelworkers and brick layers 14 months to develop
Six pins and half a dozen needles is Chinneck's first permanent installation, which took a team of British engineers, steelworkers and brick layers 14 months to develop
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Six pins and half a dozen needles is Chinneck's first permanent installation, which took a team of British engineers, steelworkers and brick layers 14 months to develop
Six pins and half a dozen needles is Chinneck's first permanent installation, which took a team of British engineers, steelworkers and brick layers 14 months to develop
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Six pins and half a dozen needles is Chinneck's first permanent installation, which took a team of British engineers, steelworkers and brick layers 14 months to develop
Six pins and half a dozen needles is Chinneck's first permanent installation, which took a team of British engineers, steelworkers and brick layers 14 months to develop
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Six pins and half a dozen needles is Chinneck's first permanent installation, which took a team of British engineers, steelworkers and brick layers 14 months to develop
Six pins and half a dozen needles is Chinneck's first permanent installation, which took a team of British engineers, steelworkers and brick layers 14 months to develop
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Six pins and half a dozen needles is Chinneck's first permanent installation, which took a team of British engineers, steelworkers and brick layers 14 months to develop
From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes gave the impression a facade was slipping off the building, revealing a top floor usually hidden behind brickwork
39/57
From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes gave the impression a facade was slipping off the building, revealing a top floor usually hidden behind brickwork
From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes gave the impression a facade was slipping off the building, revealing a top floor usually hidden behind brickwork
40/57
From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes gave the impression a facade was slipping off the building, revealing a top floor usually hidden behind brickwork
From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes gave the impression a facade was slipping off the building, revealing a top floor usually hidden behind brickwork
41/57
From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes gave the impression a facade was slipping off the building, revealing a top floor usually hidden behind brickwork
From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes gave the impression a facade was slipping off the building, revealing a top floor usually hidden behind brickwork
42/57
From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes gave the impression a facade was slipping off the building, revealing a top floor usually hidden behind brickwork
From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes gave the impression a facade was slipping off the building, revealing a top floor usually hidden behind brickwork
43/57
From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes gave the impression a facade was slipping off the building, revealing a top floor usually hidden behind brickwork
A hole in a bag of nerves was Chinneck's first experiment with melting wax bricks
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A hole in a bag of nerves was Chinneck's first experiment with melting wax bricks
A hole in a bag of nerves was Chinneck's first experiment with melting wax bricks
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A hole in a bag of nerves was Chinneck's first experiment with melting wax bricks
Birth, death and a midlife crisis slips a knotted, logic-defying wooden pillar into an old building
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Birth, death and a midlife crisis slips a knotted, logic-defying wooden pillar into an old building
Birth, death and a midlife crisis slips a knotted, logic-defying wooden pillar into an old building
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Birth, death and a midlife crisis slips a knotted, logic-defying wooden pillar into an old building
Birth, death and a midlife crisis slips a knotted, logic-defying wooden pillar into an old building
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Birth, death and a midlife crisis slips a knotted, logic-defying wooden pillar into an old building
Birth, death and a midlife crisis slips a knotted, logic-defying wooden pillar into an old building
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Birth, death and a midlife crisis slips a knotted, logic-defying wooden pillar into an old building
Growing up gets me down contorts a grandfather clock into an unlikely position
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Growing up gets me down contorts a grandfather clock into an unlikely position
Growing up gets me down contorts a grandfather clock into an unlikely position
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Growing up gets me down contorts a grandfather clock into an unlikely position
Growing up gets me down contorts a grandfather clock into an unlikely position
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Growing up gets me down contorts a grandfather clock into an unlikely position
Growing up gets me down contorts a grandfather clock into an impossible position
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Growing up gets me down contorts a grandfather clock into an impossible position
Blood, sweat and tears with a twist of lemon is a subtle take on Chinneck's knotted wood series
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Blood, sweat and tears with a twist of lemon is a subtle take on Chinneck's knotted wood series
Blood, sweat and tears with a twist of lemon is a subtle take on Chinneck's knotted wood series
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Blood, sweat and tears with a twist of lemon is a subtle take on Chinneck's knotted wood series
Blood, sweat and tears with a twist of lemon is a subtle take on Chinneck's knotted wood series
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Blood, sweat and tears with a twist of lemon is a subtle take on Chinneck's knotted wood series
Blood, sweat and tears with a twist of lemon is a subtle take on Chinneck's knotted wood series
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Blood, sweat and tears with a twist of lemon is a subtle take on Chinneck's knotted wood series

British artist Alex Chinneck has been distorting and twisting the physical world into surreal and mind-bending permutations for nearly a decade now. His latest work returns to the more humble world of indoor sculpture after five years of extraordinary large-scale work.

Chinneck's first major architectural installation came in 2012 with a work called Telling the Truth Through False Teeth. Attempting to subvert the classically held notion that a building filled with broken windows was an indication of a community accepting a type of social decline, Chinneck took over a derelict factory and fitted it with 312 identically broken windows.

Telling the truth through false teeth – one of Chinneck's first large-scale installations
Telling the truth through false teeth – one of Chinneck's first large-scale installations

Over the next few years, Chinneck produced a series of stunning large-scale installations that literally deconstructed familiar architectural principles. From the Knees of my Nose to the Belly of my Toes melted a facade of a house down into its front garden, while Six pins and half a dozen needles cracked a brick wall into two as if it were an eggshell.

Perhaps one of Chinneck's most compelling pieces came in 2014. Called A Pound of Flesh for 50p, this was a temporary installation resembling a full-size house but made of 7,500 wax bricks. Each day Chinneck and his team took to the house with hand torches, slowly melting it down over a couple of months.

A pound of flesh for 50p – displayed a slowly melting house, made out of wax bricks, disappearing over two months
A pound of flesh for 50p – displayed a slowly melting house, made out of wax bricks, disappearing over two months

His latest work moves back to a smaller sculptural scale but is no less fantastic. Employing impressively sophisticated wood-working techniques, the new pieces literally tie in knots common materials that generally impress as solid. These logic-defying sculptures knot up wooden pillars and grandfather clocks, creating a bizarre final object that seems to subvert its own material quality.

Growing up gets me down contorts a grandfather clock into an unlikely position
Growing up gets me down contorts a grandfather clock into an unlikely position

Take a look through our gallery for a closer look at Chinneck's magnificently surreal work.

Source: Alex Chinneck

1 comment
Wombat56
I'd love to see that clock presented on Antiques Roadshow.