Alex Chinneck’s latest sculpture will be a 25-metre spiralling staircase that springs apart at the end
The work is his most complex and ambitious to date; like many of his sculptures, it’s one he’s had to “push and push and push” to “pull off”.
- Liz Gorny
- 17 December 2021
After tying post boxes in knots in Margate, London and Sheffield in 2019, artist Alex Chinneck heads to Brighton, Circus Street on Monday 20 December, where he will unveil a new sculpture. The installation, titled A Spring in Your Step, is a 25-metre, four-tone spiral staircase that will spring apart into three directions across the facade of a building. It is understood to be the largest new sculpture to be unveiled in the UK in the past 12 months.
Sculpturally, A Spring in Your Step follows a non-repeating, expanding and contracting helical form, taking a familiar structure and creating an optical illusion. The artwork aims to “transform the ordinary into the extraordinary” while “surpris[ing] passers-by with a surreal encounter.” It will also be “highly contextually responsive”, meaning “it is tuned to the materiality, shape and composition of the surrounding architecture,” Chinneck tells It’s Nice That.
Like much of the artist’s work, his new sculpture took a “complex path to reach accessible outcomes,” comments Chinneck. “There are always challenges with public artworks of this scale. You have to push and push and push just to pull them off. Technically, the challenge [here] was the introduction of a wall-mounted structure of significant scale and complexity onto a pre-existing building… For me, the hardest trick of all is the illusion of effortlessness, where you hide the challenges to help the onlooker find the pleasing sculptural moments.”
Across the last few years, the artist has pulled off an array of surreal installations. Past projects include From the Knees of my Nose to the Belly of my Toes, where Chinneck created the illusion of a brick facade sliding off a three-story property into the garden; A Pound of Flesh for 50p, a house in London made from 7,500 paraffin wax bricks which slowly melted; Take my Lightning but Don’t Steal my Thunder, a hovering stone building on Covent Garden Piazza; and an unzipping office building in Kent.
GalleryAlex Chinneck: A Spring in Your Step
Alex Chinneck: A Spring in Your Step (Copyright © Marc Wilmot, 2021)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.