If you’re visiting the England anytime soon, you may be lucky enough to come face to face with a very curious sight; a handful of the country’s iconic vibrant red postboxes that have seemingly been looped around in one giant knot. It’s all part of a unique and eye-catching series unveiled by artist Alex Chinneck.

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Alphabetti Spaghetti in place at Margate © Marc Wilmot

The identical sculptures were unveiled recently at three different locations in London, Margate and Sheffield, appearing out of the blue overnight, much to the delight of the public. Titled Alphabetti Spaghetti, the pieces resemble traditional metal pillar post boxes well known across England, with the only difference being that they look as if they have been tied in knots.

The project continues the artist’s reputation for creating playful public artworks that transform the everyday into the extraordinary, turning familiar functional items into art. Chinneck did something similar with Birth, Death and a Midlife Crisis at the museum of Kirchheim unter Teck in Germany, presenting a series of straight wooden beams, with one looking as if it had been tied in a knot. This year also saw A Sprinkle of Night and a Spoonful of Light being unveiled in Milan, with the gigantic artwork presented in the form of a building’s façade peeling away from a humongous zipper while an illuminated surface shines from behind it.

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A sculpture at Caxton Works in London © Marc Wilmot

The Red pillar post boxes were chosen by the artist for their cultural significance, given how easily recognisable they are. According to Chineck there are over 115,500 across the country as a whole, with Royal Mail post box standing within half a mile of over 98% of the population.  Their design and colour help create a quintessentially British landscape, with no variation to their design being allowed except in very exceptional circumstances.   

“I want as many people as possible to be able to see and hopefully enjoy my work. I’m excited to unveil this series in three places simultaneously which have a personal connection for me. We’re also looking forward to touring the knotted boxes to other locations across the UK,” Alex Chinneck said. 

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Artist Alex Chinneck with one of the pieces © Marc Wilmot

Each of the three places chosen for the sculptures has a connection to the artist. Alex Chinneck made his first public artwork in East London in 2012, installing 312 identically-smashed windows in a derelict warehouse. His second project was in Margate, in 2013, where he created a sliding house with curving bricks, windows and doors on a residential street. He is currently working in Sheffield, preparing to create a major new public art trail of sculptural red brick chimneys, inspired by the city’s industrial heritage.    

A limited edition print featuring an illustration of the knotted post box has been produced in collaboration with Telegramme Paper Co. and is available to purchase from the artist’s official website.

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