British sculptor Alex Chinneck upends the steady, reliable nature of banal structures that we interact with every day through his architectural interventions. Overturned swaths of car parking lots, twisted broomstick handles, and inverted building facades are executed with such precise detail that it is difficult to determine where reality ends and surreality begins. Chinneck describes one particular piece to It’s Nice That as “sculpturally bold but contextually sensitive,” which seems an apt description of his entire body of work.
Alex Chinneck (born 1984) is a British sculptor known for creating temporary public artworks. Chinneck was educated at Bedford Modern School, where his father taught PE. He had ambitions to become a cricketer, having captained his school team at county level, before his interest in art at the age of 16. He studied painting at Chelsea College of Arts, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts, and became a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors.
Shortly after college, Chinneck collaborated with Conrad Shawcross on his work. After initially focusing on small sculptures, influenced by House designed by Rachel Whiteread and the work of Richard Wilson, Chinneck started working on large scale designs.
Most of Chinneck’s installations feature across Greater London. His early works include Telling the Truth Through False Teeth (2012), where the artist used 1,248 pieces of glass to create 312 identically smashed windows across the derelict facade of a factory in Hackney, From the Knees of my Nose to the Belly of my Toes (2013) in Margate where Chinneck created the illusion that the entire facade of house had slid into the garden, and Under the Weather but Over the Moon (2013), a commercial property situated on Blackfriars Road created to look as if it had become completely inverted. For his work in Hackney, local residents have described Chinneck as the “Banksy of Glass”.
His more recent works include Take my Lightning but Don’t Steal my Thunder (2014), a building located in Covent Garden designed to appear as if it floated in the air, and A Pound of Flesh for 50p (2014), a house on Southwark Street made from 7,500 paraffin wax bricks which slowly melted. The installation, Pick Yourself Up and Pull Yourself Together (2015) saw a Vauxhall Corsa suspended upside down in Southbank Centre car park. The Guardian called Chinneck a “master of architectural illusion”.