Telling the Truth Through False Teeth
by Alex Chinneck


Hackney-based artist Alex Chinneck has fitted identically smashed windows into a derelict factory just a mile away from the Olympic Stadium (+ slideshow).

Telling the Truth Through False Teeth by Alex Chinneck

Presented in association with the Sumarria Lunn Gallery, the installation draws attention to issues of economic and social decline in an area that was hoping to benefit from the regenerative effect of the games.

Telling the Truth Through False Teeth by Alex Chinneck

The project plays on the common assumption that unrepaired broken windows signify this kind of decline.

Telling the Truth Through False Teeth by Alex Chinneck

Chinneck spent four months clearing out soil, water tanks and heat lamps from the abandoned factory, which had last been used to grow cannabis plants.

Telling the Truth Through False Teeth by Alex Chinneck

He used industrial processes to replicate the same smashed window 312 times, with four pieces of glass creating the same break in every pane.

Telling the Truth Through False Teeth by Alex Chinneck

The installation can be viewed until November 2012, after which the building will be demolished.

Telling the Truth Through False Teeth by Alex Chinneck

The building is located on the corner of Mare Street and Tudor Road in Hackney, E9 7SN. Scroll down to see the site in our Designed in Hackney map.

Telling the Truth Through False Teeth by Alex Chinneck

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Telling the Truth Through False Teeth by Alex Chinneck

Here's some more information about the sculpture:

Everyone knows the broken window theory – that vandalised windows signal an acceptance of social decline. Not so in Hackney where 312 identically smashed windows are causing passers-by to double take. Nicknamed ‘the Banksy of glass’ by local residents, artist Alex Chinneck is replacing broken factory windows with... broken factory windows. Presented by Alex Chinneck in association with Sumarria Lunn Gallery and located just one mile from the Olympic stadium, this intervention transforms a derelict factory building into a public art project.

Growing up surrounded by the industrial architecture of London’s East End, the work of Alex Chinneck removes everyday construction materials from their utilitarian context. Inspired by the landscape of London’s industrial architectural heritage, he finds raw beauty in these solid, purpose-made buildings. Smashed windows in former industrial neighborhoods come as no surprise; but where others see vandalism, Alex Chinneck saw potential: "There is something mesmerising about the way light catches a broken window pane, not only is the glass shattered but so is the reflection."

Starting with an abandoned factory that had been used to grow cannabis, Chinneck spent a gruelling four months removing the remnants: piles of soil, wires, grow bags, water tanks, plant pots and heat lamps. Following an intense period of preparation, Chinneck then used industrial processes to precisely replicate one smashed window 312 times, replacing each original factory window.

All the visible windows in this building have now been replaced with identically broken sheets of glass – the combination of engineering and accident helping to complete the illusion: "This project always evolved with consideration to sculpture, architecture and engineering but ultimately I like the simple idea of performing a magic trick on such a scale." In total 312 panes from 13 windows have been replaced with 1,248 pieces of glass – four pieces form the perfect break in every pane. Fast becoming a Hackney landmark, the former factory will soon be demolished, the work disappearing with it.

About the artist:
Alex Chinneck was born in 1984 and is a graduate of the Chelsea College of Art and Design. Most recently he was nominated for the Royal British Society of Sculptors’ Bursary Award. Using contemporary methods of fabrication, Chinneck finds new and ambitious applications for everyday construction materials, removing them from their functional context to create playful installations. By making work that is unconcerned with creative disciplines his sculptures and installations co-exist across the realms of art, design and architecture.

Title: Telling the Truth Through False Teeth
Artist: Alex Chinneck in association with Sumarria Lunn Gallery
Location: corner of Mare Street and Tudor Road, Hackney, E9 7SN
Installation on view: now until November 2012

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  • anon

    A) This is a really cool piece.
    B) The "meaning" is a bunch of balony — a cool idea, with a made-up back-story to justify its existence. Come on… can't you just let it be a cool thing without making up a bunch of false art-speak about it?
    C) You can just say "CNC water jet cut glass" rather than cryptically referring to "industrial processes to precisely replicate one smashed window."

    It's a cool piece, it really is. Please, though, don't treat the viewer like an idiot.

    • timf

      I thought it was pretty succinct for an artist statement. With bonus points for no made-up words or mention of obscure French philosophers.

      I also like the work, but it does seem particularly vulnerable to unwanted attention from a kid with a rock.

      • xtiaan

        How is it “particularly” vulnerable? Any window anywhere is vulnerable to kids and rocks.

        • timf

          Most windows are joined to all 4 edges, giving them greater strength. Most windows can be replaced by a glazier in an hour. Most windows don't draw attention to their potential to be broken in the way these do. And because the whole idea of the work is the exact repitition of the windows being broken the same, if half of them were 'really' broken the effect is gone. But this is a temporary work and perhaps a few kids with rocks might just add another layer to the story before the bulldozers do.

          • xtiaan

            It’s an artwork. It’s not meant to function like a typical window so it isnt “particulary” vulnerable to anything.

    • Josh Best

      Did you just ask them to dumb it down for you?

  • Cubasur

    Really well done. The idea of using fragmented glass panes for each piece sets it apart in its execution making it meticulous and plastic.

  • Adrian

    @ Anon:

    Your point B is a bit incorrect maybe? To me it directly references a theory that has been around since the 80's

    I really like this and am glad it will be standing for some of the games