Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Artist creates 'sliding house'

Ten companies donated their materials, manufacturing capabilities and professional services to build a house's sliding facade

An artist has transformed a derelict house into a talking point in a seaside town by making it look like the facade has slipped into the front garden.

Part of the upper floor of the four-storey property is exposed as curving bricks, windows and a door below give the illusion that the front of the house is sliding away.

Artist Alex Chinneck, 28, started the £100,000 project, called "From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes", at the end of August and has recently completed it in Margate, Kent.

The mid-19th century house, which was compulsorily purchased by Thanet District Council after being empty for 11 years, will be brought back into use at the end of the year-long public art exhibition.

Ten companies donated their materials, manufacturing capabilities and professional services to build the sliding facade in Godwin Road in the Cliftonville area of the resort.

Mr Chinneck, who lives in Hackney, east London, said: "This idea was completely self-initiated. Initially I wanted to do it in London and I wrote to various people to try to get it off the ground.

"I was offered a huge number of properties, including a multi-storey car park, but I then decided I wanted to do it in Margate because I was excited by the arrival of the Turner Contemporary art gallery."

He added: "I was aware of this idea that people have a choice whether or not they go through the doors of an art gallery, and often they don't because they feel intimidated, so I think public art is important.

"I wanted to create something that captured humour, illusion and would be accessible to people from all types of different backgrounds. The response has been very positive."

Last year, Mr Chinneck installed more than 1,200 pieces of glass across the facade of a factory in Hackney to create the illusion that its 312 windows had been identically smashed and cracked.

Clive Hart, leader of Thanet District Council, said: "This kind of innovative art will encourage and attract people from all over the world to Thanet, which is a very exciting prospect for us."

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