A Pound of Flesh for 50p (study)
by Alex Chinneck

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Hackney artist Alex Chinneck has created a wall that melts in the sun as part of his research for a project to build a melting house.

A Pound of Flesh for 50p by Alex Chinneck

Chinneck has been working on a melting house to be built in Kent, England, in the summer of 2014, but recently demonstrated the concept by constructing a two-metre-high wax wall that gradually became a pile of drips and rubble over the course of a day.

A Pound of Flesh for 50p by Alex Chinneck

"Architecture and light have such an inseparable relationship and a building is rarely designed or built without consideration to the sun's movement around it," the artist told Dezeen. "The melting house is being designed to describe this relationship in a literal and theatrical way because the sun physically shapes the form."

A Pound of Flesh for 50p by Alex Chinneck

He continued: "I felt that my work was becoming so computer designed and engineered that I wanted to create a situation that sacrificed this kind of control. I like the idea of these wax structures being taken as far as a computer will allow before releasing the fate of the form to chance."

A Pound of Flesh for 50p by Alex Chinneck

Each block used to build the wall was made from dyed paraffin wax, cast to the same dimensions of a standard brick used in the British construction industry. The artist added sand to the steel casting trays, giving each brick a subtly different texture with its own unique imperfections.

A Pound of Flesh for 50p by Alex Chinneck

He documented the melting of the wall for Art Licks Magazine. Although it was designed to diminish in just one day, it took longer than expected and Chinneck had to use a blowtorch to accelerate the process, highlighting the unpredictability of the design.

A Pound of Flesh for 50p by Alex Chinneck

The house will be installed in Margate, Kent, next summer. Unlike the wall, it is expected to melt slowly over a period of eight weeks. "I like the idea of spectacle having a subtlety, so this steady transformation feels pleasingly calm in contrast to the bold concept," added the artist.

A Pound of Flesh for 50p by Alex Chinneck

Chinneck's past artworks include a series of identically smashed windows at a derelict factory.

A Pound of Flesh for 50p by Alex Chinneck

See more art installations on Dezeen »

  • mike

    Best project I have seen on Dezeen for a while.