exploring art and writing

Context, Context, Context: The seizing of Seizure.

In Fine Arts, Installation, Site Specific on July 31, 2012 at 9:42 am

‘Seizure’ 2008, Roger Hiorns. Photograph Marcus Leith.

This month the Arts Council announced that Roger Hiorns’ council flat/copper sulphate installation Seizure has been removed from its original home in South London’s Elephant and Castle. It’s future home: the beautiful Yorkshire Sculpture Park, a haven of mindfully placed, mostly large-scale sculptures in the Wakeshire countryside.

Assuming that the basic structure of the flat is still intact, the startling crystalline-encased walls will no doubt be a visual success in the North. But what impact does this relocation have on the meaning of the artwork? For an installation that began as 75,000 litres of copper sulphate solution being pumped into a disused urban council flat, how will it be redefined for the viewer?

Hiorns himself seemed relatively enthusiastic about the transfer of Seizure according to the Guardian: “I was more than happy to complicate its future: if you have the opportunity to complicate things, then you should always take it.” What I can’t find, however, is exactly why it was made in the first place (not that I believe a reason is necessary). In the same article he states that he just “set up the right scenario for it to exist”. It’s an interesting take on making artwork: the human as a mere device.

There is also the other question that comes to mind: would it’s destruction have added something to the ‘cult’ of the artwork, as it is referred to in the article above? Like Whiteread’s House (1993), although generally lamented, it could be argued that its erasure somehow makes the work more appealing.

‘House’ 1993, Rachel Whiteread

No matter. Despite all of these questions, maybe even doubts, I’m looking forward to witnessing Seizure. It may not be site-specific any more but experiencing it in Yorshire Sculpure Park is just another way to experience it. And there isn’t anything wrong about that.


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