Seizure, Harper Road (Roger Hiorns)

Seizure, 2008 - photo by me

Seizure, 2008 - photo by me

On Friday I took Mum to see the Roger Hiorns artwork, Seizure, just off Harper Road.

The skinny on this one is: he sealed off a flat in a low-rise ’60s building, pumped it full of warm copper sulphate solution, waited 2 weeks, drained the excess and then let the general public in for a good poke around.

You weren’t actually allowed a literal poke around as the crystals are relatively fragile but you could get really close and squint.

It was an interesting experience – I’d been once before on my own and it was fascinating listening to what conversations it triggered in other visitors (and their, frankly insane, grip on chemistry). After being inside for longer than twenty minutes an eerie sensation of not quite being anywhere on Earth sets in.

Obviously the closest analogy for the experience is that of standing in a subterranean crystal cave but the colour and light also imbue Seizure with an underwater sensibility. The smallness of the space and lack of natural light help with this and Seizure feels more oppressive as time passes – as if one is inside a crystal wetsuit.  Looking at the uneven, cratered surface underfoot and the wetsuit becomes a spacesuit and the landscape takes on a lunar element.

From the chemicals used to the fact one isn’t allowed to wear one’s usual footwear inside (the more prepared brought their own wellies – I borrowed one of the communal pairs) Roger Hiorns shows off his impressive knack for transformation. I entered something familiar to the point of dullness and found something aquatic, subterranean, extraterrestrial, and entirely alien.

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