Alex Chinneck has installed a series of knotted post boxes in locations around London, Margate and Sheffield as part of new artwork Alphabetti Spaghetti.
The artist is best known for his sculptures that put ordinary objects in extraordinary situations. In 2016 he overturned a huge electricity pylon in Greenwich, balancing on its point, while in 2014 he built a house in Dalston from paraffin bricks that melted away over the course of the exhibition.
Alex chose to meddle with the humble pillar box because of its ubiquity and status as a cultural icon. There are more than 115,500 across the UK, with 98% of the population living within half a mile of the scarlet cylinders. A post box’s design is heavily controlled by Royal Mail, with variations only allowed in special circumstances.
The locations of the new sculptures (Caxton Works in London, All Saints Avenue in Margate and Norborough Road in Sheffield) each have significant meaning for the artist. The East London site is where Chinneck created his first public artwork in 2012 – a derelict warehouse with 312 identically smashed windows. In 2013 he installed a warped house with sliding, curved bricks in Margate, and the artist is currently working in Sheffield on a new public art trail inspired by the city’s industrial past.
While the Sheffield iteration of Alphabetti Spaghetti will be in place only until 29 September, the sculpture in Margate will remain in situ until 12 January, while the London installation will remain on Caxton street permanently.