A historic building in London’s Covent Garden, violently slashed through the middle, floats mysteriously in the air with no apparent support underneath the entirely dislocated upper half. A terraced house in Margate has its entire redbrick front slipped away from its frame and lies slumped in its own front garden. A red Vauxhall Corsa hangs upside down with the tarmac peeled back from the pavement and curled over. Welcome to the magical world of Alex Chinneck, a British artist known for his large-scale, mind-bending architectural illusions.
One of Chinneck’s first large scale installation, titled Telling the Truth Through False Teeth (2012), featured a derelict factory with broken windows that didn’t appear out of the ordinary until you realize that every single window—more than three hundred of them— was smashed in the same pattern. The following year, Chinneck created the illusion of a house in the seaside town of Margate whose outer façade had detached and slid down to lie in a heap in front of the house. The same year, he took a commercial property in Central London and completely inverted it.
Chinneck says he loves distorting the everyday world, however, unlike other artists, he humbly admits that there is no deeper message behind his installations. “These pieces are not conceptually driven, or trying to deliver a particular message,” he says. “The aim is to astound people and just cheer them up a bit.”
His best illusion so far, has been the floating house in Covent Garden, which he installed in 2014. Alex Chinneck and his team of over 100 professionals comprising of consultants, tradesman, engineers, created a life-sized replica of the historic stone building and levitated it off the ground by using a 12 meter armature hidden inside the structure and connected to the ground through an innocuous market cart.
The floating house took eight months to realize.
All of Alex Chinneck’s installations are temporary and no longer exist, but you can enjoy them in the following pictures.