Alex Chinneck’s Logic-Bending Chimney Sculptures to Transform U.K. Town
Installation artist Alex Chinneck likes to trick the eye. Recent works include building facades that appear to be sliding down to the ground or torn in half. For his current show at the Städtische Galerie Kornhaus in Kirchheim unter Teck, Germany, he “knotted” one of the museum’s 450-year-old pillars. But it’s actually a facsimile. “I’m glad they let us cast one of their columns, but they probably shouldn’t have,” he says.
Likewise logic-bending is Onwards & Upwards, an in-process public installation of five redbrick chimneys in Sheffield and Rotherham, U.K. Each will be somehow manipulated: One will be separated nearly in half. Two will lean into each other, dramatically forming a bridge. Another will be, yes, knotted.
Considering the chimneys’ 75,000 locally produced bricks, the project is no small feat. By the 2019 opening, Chinneck will have spent four years researching and fabricating as well as collaborating with the University of Sheffield’s engineering department—the sculptures must stand, after all. “It’s 5 percent idea,” Chinneck states, “and 95 percent execution.”