Alex Chinneck is able to split a building in two to realize his amazing display of urban surrealism. We interviewed the master of public art not suitable for elitists
Art can also be optimistic … Well, no, really. When urban art gives optimism a chance, as the leading artist in this article suggests, then we talk more about “design,” rather than art. Remember when Alex Chinneck used an old facade of a seemingly historic building in Milan, to open it in two with a giant zipper. The facade fell and discovered what the architecture hid. It was the playful way of the British artist to capture this clash between reality and fiction, between the everyday and the strange, where art acquired a new dimension.
In his interview for ICON Design, the artist claims to see his work as a sculpture, made possible by the multidisciplinary combination, for example, with architectur
e. “My work creates challenges that we solve through design and engineering: we design works of art. We take extremely complex paths to create simple visual moments. The reality is that a great amount of time and experience is taken by the conception and realization of each project. The sculpture, after all, is to re-imagine the world around us, so I think it is more powerful when it is integrated into the world around us: our everyday environments, ”he explains with the same clarity of one of his designs.
Near the street, far from the academy
Chinneck is, in its own way, an antisystem said carefully, gently. It makes noise but without hurting. Because, as he says himself, “street art suddenly assails you, without asking permission, sneaks into anyone’s life.” That is why it should provoke a “positive and uplifting” experience and try to make your work “warm”. Something you get thanks to the old formula of contrasts: friendly and surprising, spectacular and familiar, ironic and welcoming.
“It’s about making the everyday world feel momentarily extraordinary. Public a
rt must involve the viewer and have a conversation with them. I choose that conversation to be fun and positive. A pedestal can create a division between a work of art and its audience, but my work does not encourage such separation. My work is intentionally accessible, to help most people who see it find a way to enjoy it. It is no
t elitism, it is inclusion, ”explains the sculptor, whom we could define as an accessibility academic. A pop academic, an urban surrealist.
Its objective is the effect, the surprise, because the reality is too boring. Almost like an “art of attractions.” Chinneck believes that “definitely, art is a moment of fantasy in a context of familiarity.” So what is the difference between show and art? “There is a thin line between a trick and a sculpture. We make sure that our practice is taken seriously, paying great attention to the quality of the execution and making sure that it is a considerable, relevant and dynamic contribution to the place where it is located, ”replies the 35-year-old sculptor.
He has no transcendental ambitions, he simply wants to cheer the staff up a bit. One of his most impressive and famous projects is the facade that slides through the building, has slipped down and the last floor is in sight.
For the House-rack, he worked with a
team of more than 100 people, including carpenters, steelmakers, painters, sculptors, foundry specialists, crane operators, lighting designers, structural engineers, and even robots. As a good designer, Alex Chinneck has a good axiom for this entire artistic community: “Ambition creates an idea, but collaboration makes it possible.”