Look hard enough around London and you never know what you’ll find. Works of art abound and it’s not just the obvious that you need to look out for. With works from artist and designer Alex Chinneck looking twice is exactly what you’re expected to do and it might just reveal something amazing.
I first noticed his work in London Bridge walking along Southwark Street towards the station. There on an industrial piece of ground between the road and the railway arches sits a red brick house which looks strangely out of place. Initially walking past I turned for all intensive purposes this home would not look out of place in suburbia albeit minus the manicured lawn.
Eventually revealing itself to be an art installation the house was in fact made entirely out of wax bricks, 8000 of them! Part of the Merge festival which celebrates the contemporary culture and heritage of Bankside the plan is for the elaborate sculpture to eventually melt into nothingness leaving just the roof and a pool of melted wax. Called ‘A Pound of Flesh for 50p‘ the work pays homage to an old candle factory which was based on the Bankside during its industrial heyday.
But that’s just part of the story, in Covent Garden an even grander design is currently taking centre stage in the square. A 3D replica installation of part of the market building has been designed to look like it is hovering in air. That particular artwork called ‘Take My Lightning but Don’t Steal My Thunder‘ has caught the public imagination in recent weeks given it’s high profile location and seemingly miraculous design.
Appearing as though the old market building has literally split in two, this particular work has been garnering plenty of attention with a large counterweight used to support the top half of the building which is cunningly disguised to give the illusion of floating in air.
Look a little bit further out towards Hackney and the same artist has another slightly more hidden but no less substantial artwork. There on Tudor Road is a former warehouse building on which each of it’s 312 windows have been identically smashed. Called ‘Telling the Truth Through False Teeth‘ it involved the use of 1248 individual pieces of glass to make up this particular more installation. Seamlessly blending into the environment around, it is unlikely to be noticed by the passer by yet take a moment to stop and look and the scale becomes clear.
That particular piece of work popped up around the time of the Olympics as a commentary of social and economic decline. According to the Dezeen Magazine the building had been a former cannabis factory before being closed down and scheduled for demolition. The artwork itself playing on the popular assumption that broken windows symbolise decline. Scheduled for demolition it has lasted a lot longer than originally planned.
As art installations go we’ve been quite excited by the work of this artist and will look forward to see what he comes up with in the future. In addition to the artworks featured in this post his website also shows more illusionist structures which are just as brilliant and well worth a look.
The Melting House will be on display on Southwark Street in Bankside until 26 October 2014 and the Floating Market in Covent Garden will be available to see until 24 October 2014. The broken windows on Tudor Road in Hackney can still be seen although the building has been scheduled for demolition.
Melting Wax House Gallery
Floating Covent Garden Gallery
Smashed Windows in Hackney Gallery