Image: Roger Hiorns, Discipline, 2002, © Roger Hiorns. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2013
Roger Hiorns was born in Birmingham, England in 1975. He studied at Bournville College of Art, Birmingham and Goldsmiths’ College, London. He was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2009.
Much of Hiorns’s practice is about transformation, both of materials and spaces and, as such, of our perception of reality. Installations and sculpture present curious substances such as brain matter and altar stones in formations that render them unrecognisable. His approach is scientific in nature, experimenting with material reactions in order to expose their inherent qualities and to glean a reaction from the viewer. In his seminal installation Seizure (2008), he investigated the metamorphosis of mineral substances over time. The interior of a derelict council flat in southeast London was filled with liquid copper sulphate, which developed into startling, sapphire-blue crystal within three weeks, creating a fantastical cave in the formerly grim interior of the bedsit. This process of crystallisation is a motif of Hiorns’s work, for whom part of the appeal is that its growth is beyond his control.
In Discipline (2002), Hiorns applied the technique to thistles. When dipped into the copper-sulphate solution, the prickly flower heads are transformed into a hyper-real bouquet with an almost magical quality. The tension between the varying delicacies of the natural and mineral forms creates a visual puzzle for the eye.