Critics’ Picks

View of “Roger Hiorns,” 2013.


Roger Hiorns

Annet Gelink Gallery
Laurierstraat 187-189
September 7 - November 2

Foaming profusely, the thirteen untitled sculptures in Roger Hiorns’s second solo exhibition at this gallery are animated in mysterious ways. Metal and ceramic vessels holding a soapy cleanser sit on wooden stools or hang from the ceiling and are fed air through tubes and invisible pumps, which causes iridescent clouds of the finest bubbles. Although the process reminds one of a pumping heart, the vessels don’t look organic at all, as they are constructed of metal bowls, motor parts, and ceramic vases. In one work, Hiorns uses a small ceramic vase made by the iconic American potter Janet Leach and thereby sheds some light on his own view on transformation and regeneration. By showing Leach’s work, he calls attention to pottery made on the crossroads of tradition and innovation; moreover, he regularly breathes new life into traditional ceramic workshops by commissioning such studios to execute his designs.

Hiorns also frequently employs processes of demolition. The concurrent group show “Dread” at the De Hallen Haarlem features an untitled 2008 floor-based sculpture by Hiorns that is made of gray powder from an atomized passenger aircraft engine and resembles a desolate postatomic landscape. Just as this work transforms an airliner into a work of art, it refers simultaneously to Native American sand paintings and—as the sand is spread out at random—to Jackson Pollock and his fascination for this traditional technique.

In these works, even destruction leads to the birth of new forms—a sense of recycling that is present in all of Hiorns’s work. With their bubble clouds, the foam pieces express his wish for a self-generating art wherein the artist is not necessarily in control of creation any longer, and which in turn allows the art to lead an autonomous life.