Roger Hiorns


The first time I met Roger Hiorns was in his art-school studio in the mid-’90s. I asked him what he was doing and he told me, without any explanation or justification, that he was growing copper sulfate crystals. Something pure, geometrically clear-cut, and graspable was solidifying out of liquid incoherence in the beaker before his eyes. Perhaps the basic school-boy chemistry involving the transformation from one state to another was providing a physical parallel to the more problematic and far-reaching concern with what occurs when something becomes art.

Hiorns’s recent show appeared to further complicate the relationship between reality and aspiration by introducing the difficult question of how to accomplish such transformative acts while operating under the weight of historical precedent and social expectation (all works 2001): two large triangular wooden frames mounted on the wall,

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