February 8, 2018

Alex Chinneck Ties Architecture Into Knots for German Exhibition

Alex Chinneck knotted historic columns for Birth, Death, and a Midlife Crisis, part of “Knots,” which runs at the Städtische Galerie Kornhaus in Kirchheim Unter Teck, Germany, until April 8. Photography by Charles Emerson.

Alex Chinneck has ripped buildings in half. He also melted a brick facade. The English artist’s latest reality-defying endeavor? Tying 450-year-old pillars into knots. Until April 8, German town Kirchheim Unter Teck’s Städtische Galerie Kornhaus will showcase Birth, Death, and a Midlife Crisis, Chinneck’s first indoor sculpture in five years. Part of “Knots,” the architectural intervention also includes the introduction of a perfectly straight column—virtually indistinguishable from the historical ones—to create symmetry around the knotted pillar.

“I like to give fluidity to typically inflexible things, transcending their material nature,” says Chinneck, who included a hard-carved wooden broom leaning against the wall, also knotted. “I wanted to create the impression that the work was born through manipulation, rather than introduction, of material.”

“Knots” also includes a broom. Photography by Charles Emerson.

Chinneck’s knotted works continue their journey when Onwards and Upwards, the largest public artwork ever commissioned in England’s Sheffield City Region, goes on view. Slated to open in summer 2019, the commission by the Tinsley Art Project comprises four chimneys, incorporating 100,000 bricks, that riff on the region’s industrial heritage. 

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