Maybe I’d have been less disappointed if I’d not queued to get in, but I doubt it. Roger Hiorns has taken a council flat in a block due to be demolished and covered the inside in sulphate crystals.
I can see what he’s attempting to do – transform ‘the everyday’ into a ‘magical’, cavernous, extra-terrestrial place. I imagined this was the effect he was aiming at while experiencing the work and tried, well at least a bit, to enter into the spirit of the thing. But, ultimately, this spectacle didn’t work for me. The queuing did more than build up expectations, it also gave me time to look around and to think about the perceived value of the architecture of the block about to be demolished, to think about the transformation of the Elephant and Castle area, and to contemplate how beautifully the last of the summer sunlight shone through the overgrown foliage of the estate’s central courtyard. Entering the flat from this position, the over-mannered artifice of the installation did not trigger any further thoughts on this particular place, the mourning or celebration of it, or some acknowledgement of the lives lived between these doomed walls. I’m familiar with Hiorns previous sulphate works and, basically, this installation is just like walking into one of them. It could be anywhere – if greater resonance is achieved by the fact that it is in a crumbling, boarded-up estate and not in a gallery then this feels like Hiorns is leeching off the
place, rather than properly responding to it. Artangel gives the work a lot of credibility and there’s even a ritual involved in seeing it – swapping shoes for wellies, leaving bags, wearing special gloves. Once inside I wasn’t so sure why this little performance was necessary, it’s a tiny room and the sulphate crystals were pretty much fixed by this stage. I stayed longer than I probably needed to and ensured I’d taken many photographs, how else could I justify waiting for 15 minutes to go in.
Date: 15 September 2008
Time: 08:38 AM
This comment on Internet blog made me think about the importance of the work was not the spectacle that Eva is telling about the logistic solutions for the observer, but insteat what is behind it, hidden on the process . When I walk in, besides the good feeling of being for the first time in a strange place , not human , I instantly started thinking on the process … How interesting is the concept of crystallizing a moment , for instance photographers debate themselves to crystallize strong moments , and in this case is more than crystallize a house as a moment or a sculpture. Its all about crystallizing the interior of it , the living space . Is to intercept the living inside . This house no longer allow a living environment . I Guess she goes in to it when she says something about the lives lived in between the walls .
Because my concern was centered in capturing and visualizing examples of the reversibility of system and those energies spend and creating Entropy , this phenomenon of copper sulphate is really an amazing example .