‘You always have to think about materials and objects in terms of being malleable – you have to cut them off from what their established use is, to directly interfere with their world-ness…’ – Roger Hiorns
This catalogue accompanies an exhibition by 2009 Turner Prize nominee, Roger Hiorns at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (7 December 2016 – 5 March 2017). It features a selection of images from the artist’s archive work, Digestive System (1998–ongoing) alongside his recent works.
Through the transformation of materials and found objects, Hiorns focuses on various aspects of modern life, closely analysing what is assumed or taken for granted. His works involve foaming assemblages of manufactured machine parts, paintings made from brain matter, jet engines containing anti depressant drugs and naked young men both painted and in the flesh.
Hiorns has recently made canvases covered with copper sulphate (a bright blue, crystalline substance he frequently uses). Delicate works of art, untouched by him, they are at once beautiful and problematising. There is a kind of instability embodied in them that epitomises his artistic practice as a whole.
The exhibition also includes a new video work documenting Untitled (a retrospective view of the pathway), an off-site project produced by Ikon in June 2016. It features choristers of St Philip’s Cathedral Birmingham singing Evensong whilst lying on their backs on the floor of the nave, rather than standing to sing in stalls in front of the altar. A re-imagining of an ancient ritual, atomising a rigid formation, it exemplifies a restlessness with respect to a revered institution, part of an establishment that defines our society.
This catalogue includes an essay by Ruth Noack, art historian and a co-curator of documenta 12 in Kassel.