Sculptor Alex Chinneck has again turned the world upside down with his latest urban sculpture called “Pick Yourself Up and Pull Yourself Together” in the Hungerford Car Park on London’s South Bank where a strip of tarmac appears to have lifted up and curved over, carrying with it a red Vauxhall Corsa car which remains suspended there. A master of sculptural illusion, called by Hackney residents the “Banksy of Sculpture”, he describes his work “as the physical reinterpretation of the material world around us and so by introducing fictional narratives into familiar scenarios, I try to make everyday situations as extraordinary as they can be. I choose to do this through illusions because I think there is something both optimistic and captivating about defying the realms of possibility.”
“Simple in concept yet structurally, technically and logistically complex, this project looks to deliver an experience that can be appreciated by different people for different reasons. While I am most excited by the hidden engineering and complex manipulation of concealed steel, others will simply enjoy the accessible theatricality of the illusion at play……With an effortlessly curling road I hoped to transcend the material nature of tarmac and stone, giving these typically inflexible materials an apparent fluidity. I was allowed a great amount of creative freedom and this collaboration offered my studio an exciting platform to explore new areas of engineering and fabrication”. (Alex Chinneck)
Such is his attention to detail that he was there at 8.30 on Friday morning moving parts of the tarmac to just where he wanted them.
Last year he again challenged gravity when part of the historic façade of the Covent Garden market building appeared to be floating in space without obvious support, for which the Guardian called him an “architectural illusionist”. In previous work he creating 312 identically smashed windows across the derelict facade of a factory in Hackney, only a mile from the Olympic Park in London, and, in Margate in Kent, he created the illusion that the facade of house was sliding down into the garden. In 2013, he turned things upside down by creating inverted facades on derelict properties in Blackfriars Road, which are still there to see and only a brisk 15 minutes’ walk from the Hungerford Car Park.