Roger Hiorns (b1975, Birmingham) is perhaps best known for his installation piece Seizure (2008), involving the bright blue crystallisation of the interior of an empty council flat on a housing estate near Elephant and Castle, London, commissioned by Artangel. Originally intended to remain only for a couple of years, the 31-tonne structure, for which Hiorns was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2009, was “saved” and transported to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, as part of the Arts Council Collection, where it is now on semi-permanent display. However, Hiorns’ key concern in all of his works – disparate as they might seem – is “putting the human back into the centre of an artwork”, be that by stuffing a falling mannequin with Heidegger text or secreted brain matter; burying an aeroplane and allowing visitors to enter it underground; presenting a deeply documental installation on variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; or planting two seven-metre-tall black granite furnaces on Bristol’s Temple Quay Central as part of an Art and the Public Realm Bristol commission.
With an exhibition opening at Ikon Birmingham, and the Bristol project nearing its (as yet unannounced) launch date, Hiorns welcomed Studio International to his studio on a housing estate in north London, where he talked about some of his key projects and the ideas behind – and linking – them.
• Roger Hiorns’ exhibition at Ikon Birmingham runs from 7 December 2016 to 5 March 2017. More information about The Retrospective View of the Pathway can be found at Art and the Public Realm Bristol’s website.
Interview by ANNA McNAY
Filmed by MARTIN KENNEDY
Now, the National Gallery is hosting an exhibition dedicated to the history of making colour in western paintings, from the Middle Ages to the late 19th-century and beyond – a highlight is a fragment from Roger Hiorns’s crystalline Seizure (2008), where he transformed an abandoned London flat into a shimmering blue cave. Science and art collide as this show looks at how artists overcame the technical challenges involved in creating colour, and the breakthroughs they achieved in their quest to capture ethereal and earthly beauty.
Witches and Wicked Bodies
“The witch is dead. Which old witch? The wicked witch! Ding Dong! The wicked witch is dead!” From the evil witch in The Wizard of Oz, whose famous chant was appropriated recently by some celebrating the death of Margaret Thatcher, to the costumes worn by children (and adults) on Halloween, the witch is still very much alive in the modern world as a figure of nightmares, rebellion and curiosity.
The Shape of Things to Come: New Sculpture
Fragility in strength, destruction in creation, nature in artifice, beauty in abject deformation – these are just a few of the myriad paradoxes which confront the audience at the Saatchi Gallery’s current exhibition, The Shape of Things to Come: New Sculpture. Showcasing works by 20 international artists, and exploring an incredible range of materials, this survey show marks the first time the entire gallery has been devoted to works in 3D.
Roger Hiorns: Seizure
Harper Road is an unremarkable south London street, flanked by the blocks of large post-war housing estates, convenience stores, a new mosque and a small park. Yet one low-rise council house, derelict and scheduled for demolition, is the setting for an ambitious sculptural installation by Roger Hiorns.