450-Year-Old Wood Column Tied Into a Knot Is a Logic-Defying Art Installation

Alex Chinneck installation artist

Known for his mind-bending installation art, Alex Chinneck has moved indoors for his latest art installation, tying a 450-year-old wood column into a knot. With Birth, Death, and a Midlife Crisis, the British sculptor has conceived another stunning piece of optical illusion art, one that sees him installing an indoor sculpture for the first time in five years.

After his hovering stone building and seemingly melted building facade, both in England, Chinneck brings his unique background in architecture, sculpture, engineering, and set design to the interior of a German museum. Located in the small town of Kirchheim Unter Teck, the museum's historic wooden columns served as the inspiration for Chinneck's artwork.

His knotted column seems to defy logic—even when one knows it's simply an art installation, it's impossible not to feel as though it fits perfectly into place within the gallery. Indeed, Chinneck's approach was purposely sensitive, teasing out the illusion while paying respect to the surroundings.

“I wanted to create the impression that we had only changed what was already physically present in the museum and the work was born through the manipulation, rather than introduction, of material,” Chinneck shares. “With this approach, the objective was to produce something sculpturally bold but contextually sensitive.”

The result is a startling, yet fascinating, work of art that blends in flawlessly with the environment, demonstrating Chinneck's ability to transition between exterior and interior spaces. In addition to the knotted pillar, the artist also added a straight column in order to give the overall installation balance and symmetry. It's this attention to detail that helps bring the illusion to life.

“I like to give fluidity to typically inflexible things, transcending their material nature. The columns are the prominent feature in the 450-year-old museum and this intervention took an opportunity to defy logic and distort history.”

For his newest logic-defying art installation, Alex Chinneck has created a knot in a 450-year-old wood column.

Alex Chinneck wood knot

Alex Chinneck installation art

Alex Chinneck installation art

Alex Chinneck wood knot

Alex Chinneck installation artist

Alex Chinneck optical illusion sculpture

Alex Chinneck: Website | Instagram

All photos by Charles Emerson. My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Alex Chinneck.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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