A rare, impressive and downright wacky sight dominates London’s cityscape: an inverted electricity pylon. The 115-foot-tall latticed steel sculpture, erected on an industrial wasteland on Greenwich Peninsula in the UK capital, was cre- ated by artist Alex Chinneck, renowned for giving urban buildings a surreal twist. The work “A Bullet from a Shooting Star” has been set up as part of London Design Festival.
Your latest work is striking but what’s the artistic meaning behind “A Bullet from a Shooting Star”?
My artwork responds to the visual, material and histori- cal stimuli of the site. It is highly contextual rather than conceptual, which leaves it open to being read and enjoyed on multiple levels.
What inspired you to created this installation?
I was motivated by the visual language of latticed steel across the peninsula, particularly that of a now- redundant gas tower. The site’s history, as one of the largest gas and steel works in Europe, inspired the theme of power generation and the fact that there used to be an artillery works there inspired the title.
What were the biggest challenges in creating the installation?
The largest challenges were ones of logistics and engineering – the latter, in particular. At 115 feet tall, the sculpture is subject to high wind-loading, snow and ice-loading. By inverting the object, you invert the structural integrity of the pylon, which weighs 15 tons. To compensate, we had to pile 82 feet deep into the ground and fill the base with 3884 cubic feet of concrete.
Impressive. And how have the general public reacted to your sculpture?
I hope that people will be momentarily uplifted by the artwork and that it will lead them to spend more time enjoying the incredible views from the peninsula.
What kind of message do you want to spread to viewers with your installation?
I would like my work to be a beacon for ambition.