Alex Chinneck has built an upside-down electricity pylon
It weighs 15 tonnes and visitors can stand underneath it from September 19
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Take an everyday electricity pylon, flip it upside-down, and stand it on its end. Suddenly the everyday becomes extraordinary.
“There’s always moments where I think my initial ideas aren’t possible,” says Chinneck . “But if I didn’t think that there would be no point in doing them in the first place.”
A bullet from a shooting star, his breathtaking new 35m-tall sculpture in Greenwich, London, opens to the public on 19 September. It weighs 15 tonnes, comprises 1,186 meters of steel, has foundations stretching 25 meters undergrounds, and is held in place by a 120 tonne concrete weight and 350 tonnes of rubble. But Chinneck makes it look effortless.
“This illusion of weightlessness and elegance was always a guiding concern and inspiration,” the artist says.
Chinneck’s previous illusions include Take My Lighting, But Don’t Steal my Thunder – the polystyrene building floating above Covent Garden – and A Pound of Flesh for 50p, a Georgian house made of wax that gradually melted into a pool.
A bullet has been commissioned to mark the launch of London Design Festival, the 9-day program of events and exhibitions that takes place in London each September. Immediately across the river from the capital’s financial district of Canary Wharf, Chinneck says every projects takes inspiration from its location.
“I came out here and the light out here is incredible. It’s so uninterrupted by architecture. And because it travels by the Thames, there’s some kind of reflection. It silhouettes every object in its bath, so I wanted to create something that would silhouette very beautifully.”
“The nice thing about the peninsula, with these 360 degree views, is it offers a multitude of backdrops, and every viewpoint tells a different story.”
The sculpture can already be seen from passing cars, buses, and Thames boat services, and be glimpsed , says Chinneck, from airplanes landing at London’s City airport and the cable-cars that now ferry tourists over the river. From 19 September visitors can travel to the empty patch of post-industrial scrub land near North Greenwich train station and the former Millennium Dome to get the best view of all: standing under the pylon – all 15 tonnes of it.