Unzipping a Building 'to the Public'

 John Hill
17. August 2018
"Open to the public," Alex Chinneck, 2018
British artist Alex Chinneck has turned a 1960s office building slated for demolition in Ashford, England, into a surprising and humorous piece of art by "unzipping" the facade and allowing passersby to peer inside.
With oversized zippers mounted on the building and the walls literally peeling away to reveal the interior, it's no wonder "Open to the public" has been shared like crazy across the internet this month. The artwork is on display on Tannery Lane in Ashford until the end of August for those who want to see it in person.
"Open to the public," Alex Chinneck, 2018
"From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes," Alex Chinneck, 2013
A quick glance around Alex Chinneck's website reveals the artist has a strong affinity for old buildings and a willingness to use them as canvases for temporary artworks. Most striking is "From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes," which manipulated the facade of an old building in Margate (since demolished) and created the impression it slid down into the front yard, revealing a disheveled top-floor room.

While Chinneck's artworks are open to varying interpretations, he's mum about his techniques. He tells the Architect's Newspaper about his most recent architectural intervention: "How the work is created is part of the magic, and I prefer not to spoil the illusion. All I will say is that we started by casting the facade of the building."
"From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes," Alex Chinneck, 2013

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