Head down to Southwark Street just south of the River Thames, and you’ll find Alex Chinneck’s large-scale project, A pound of flesh for 50p. Starting as a life-size two-storey house made out of 8,000 wax bricks, the sculpture will eventually be a mess of rooftop and melted wax come mid-November.
The sculpture is part of Merge Festival, an annual series of art, music and performances that draws on the heritage and culture of London’s Bankside, and Alex’s project celebrates the history of an old candle-making factory from a few centuries ago. It’s a stunning tribute that not only required a colossal build but also involved the artist spending a year talking to numerous engineers, chemists and wax manufacturers to develop scarily convincing bricks that mimic real walls.
In place until 18 November, the installation is set to disintegrate over 30 days and will be melted manually to allow for some control over the work’s appearance and changing shape. But the beauty of using wax as a material is the dropping, dripping and warping can only be manipulated so much, meaning beautiful stalactites of paraffin wax are already forming in wonderful irregularity.
While Alex’s jaw-dropping sculpture in the Covent Garden Piazza garnering so much attention over recent weeks, it seems like the artist’s work is taking over London at the minute, which is absolutely fine with us.
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