Artangel, the arts organisation that has built a reputation for creating excellent exhibitions in unusual venues across London, is currently showing Seizure, a new artwork by Roger Hiorns, in a dilapidated social housing block near Elephant & Castle. The installation sees a bedsit in the block filled with resplendent blue crystals.
Hiorns – who is known for working with unusual materials, having previously created works with detergent, disinfectant, even semen – pumped copper sulphate solution into a tank within the flat, where it covered the walls, ceiling and all the bathroom fittings. The solution was then left for several weeks, before any excess liquid was removed and the crystal growth revealed.
Copper sulphate may be strongly acidic, yet the installation seems strangely natural, as if discovering an ancient, glittering cave. Despite its allure, the installation is sharp and potentially dangerous, however, with all visitors having to don boots and gloves before entering. Its atmosphere is also intense – venture further into the flat and it grows ever more suspenseful, especially upon finding the bathroom, where the everyday domestic set up seems particularly unsettling.
Most powerful of all is the installation’s setting however – within this rejected and rundown late-modernist development (which is scheduled for demolition after the exhibition), Hiorns has created something unexpected and magical.
Seizure is on at Harper Road, SE1 until November 2. See artangel.org.uk for more info and directions.