British artist Alex Chinneck has revealed his latest illusory artwork in collaboration with Vauxhall Motors. Following 2014’s ‘floating building’ in Covent Garden, ‘Pick yourself up and pull yourself together’ sees the artist suspend a new Vauxhall Corsa fifteen feet in the air at London’s Southbank Centre.
The collaboration with Vauxhall Motors turns a parking space on its head, peeling back fifteen metres of arching tarmac to turn a one-tonne car upside-down as the vehicle grips the curling road with no visible support.
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 to Z of British motoring moments. The gravity-defying feat will appear in South Bank Centre’s car park, beside the London Eye, until Thursday 26 February 2015.
Speaking about 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 complemented 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 astonishing rip-curl embodies the fun people have driving the much-loved Vauxhall Corsa.”
Working with Alex to produce the sculpture was a team of structural engineers, steel benders, scenic artists, metal workers, carpenters, tarmac-layers and road-painters. They created an object whose dimensions occupy the maximum square-area allowed on UK roads, so it could 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.
Vauxhall Motors has worked with documentary director Chris Tubbs to create a behind-the-scenes film, offering insights into how the project developed, and a time-lapse of the piece’s installation.
Watch the time-lapse video
‘Alex Chinneck for Vauxhall Motors: Pick yourself up and pull yourself together’ is currently running from Thursday 19 February until Thursday 26 February at the Southbank Centre Car Park, Hungerford Bridge, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX.
Watch the behind the scenes film
Images and colours shown are for illustrative purposes only and may show optional equipment.