Alex Chinneck for Vauxhall Motors: Pick yourself up and pull yourself together

19 Feb 2015 – 25 Feb 2015

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Southbank Centre

London, United Kingdom


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  • Tube: Waterloo / Embankment
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British artist Alex Chinneck reveals his latest illusory artwork in collaboration with Vauxhall Motors. The piece sees the artist hang a new Vauxhall Corsa 15 feet in the air while still attached to the road at London’s Southbank Centre.


The collaboration with Vauxhall Motors turns a parking space on its head, peeling back 15 metres of arching tarmac to turn a one tonne car upside-down as the vehicle hangs from the curling road with no visible supports.


Vauxhall Motors commissioned Chinneck to create a piece inspired by the new Corsa, which was launched earlier this year with a campaign based on an A-Z of British motoring. The gravity defying piece of parking will hang in Hungerford Car Park, beside The London Eye, until Wednesday 25th February 2015.


Speaking on the artwork, Alex Chinneck said, “I see sculpture 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.”


“With an effortlessly curling road I hoped to transcend the material nature of tarmac and stone, giving these typically inflexible materials an apparent fluidity. Vauxhall Motors allowed me a great amount of creative freedom and this collaboration offered my studio an exciting platform to explore new areas of engineering and fabrication”.


After making Covent Garden hover with 2014’s ‘Take My Lightning, But Don’t Steal my Thunder’ and ‘A Pound of Flesh for 50p’ where a house in Southwark gradually melted to the ground, Alex wanted to create a public installation of significant sculptural and theatrical impact, which complimented the new Corsa’s design.


Commenting on the commission, Mark Adams, Head of Design at Vauxhall Motors said: “The installation certainly celebrates the new Corsa as a ball of energy – a small car with a big heart.  Alex Chinneck’s work is astounding, he’s an amazing British sculptor who creates illusionary structures with the most in-depth engineering and design.  Above all, the gravity defying rip curl embodies the fun people have driving the much-loved Vauxhall Corsa.”   


As well as Alex himself, the sculpture has been produced by a team of structural engineers, steel benders, scenic artists, metal workers, carpenters, tarmac layers and road painters, creating an object that was designed to occupy the absolute maximum UK road-legal dimensions so it can be installed overnight.


“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,” said Alex Chinneck.

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