Roger Hiorns: Seizure

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Roger Hiorns. Photo Nigel Roddis Image 5 of 7
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Building designed by Adam Khan Architects. Photo Nigel Roddis Image 6 of 7
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In 2008 Roger Hiorns, commissioned by Artangel and the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, transformed an empty council flat in Southwark, London, into a sparkling blue environment of copper sulphate crystals. Seizure was created using 75,000 litres of liquid copper sulphate, which was pumped into the former council flat to create a strangely beautiful and somewhat menacing crystalline growth on the walls, floor, ceiling and bath of the abandoned dwelling.

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Destined to be remembered as one of the truly worthwhile and significant moments of modern British art” (Jonathan Jones, The Guardian), 151-189 Harper Road, near Elephant & Castle became a site of pilgrimage, with thousands of people making their way across the capital to the anonymous council flat. The exhibit closed to the public in January 2010.

Faced with the demolition of the social housing block in early 2011, the piece was acquired by the Arts Council Collection, thanks to a gift by the artist, Artangel and the Jerwood Charitable Foundation through the Art Fund, with the support of The Henry Moore Foundation. The work, weighing over 31 tonnes, was successfully extracted from the property in February 2011, following meticulous planning which saw one wall of the flat removed before the whole structure was pulled out of the building using hydraulic jacks and craned onto the back of a low loader. Seizure was subsequently transported to YSP and is the subject of a 10-year loan agreement between the Arts Council Collection and YSP, where it is presented within an award-winning concrete structure, commissioned from Adam Khan Architects, near the YSP Bothy Garden.

Roger Hiorns (b. 1975 in Birmingham) is a London-based artist with an international reputation. Hiorns works with dominant cultural objects and situations. He has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally, and has a number of works in public collections across the country including the Arts Council Collection and Tate. Internationally his work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Art Institute of Chicago. 

*Seizure is open at weekends and daily during bank and school holidays (based on Wakefield term times).

Guidance for visiting Seizure:
  • Only five people may view the art work at any one time; please follow instruction from YSP staff
  • Regrettably, due to the nature of the art work, pushchair and wheelchair users have access to the threshold only
  • Overshoes must be placed over existing footwear before entering the art work. Please return overshoes to YSP staff after use
  • Large bags and rucksacks are not permitted within the art work. YSP accepts no responsibility for items left in the threshold area
  • Take care when entering and leaving the art work: there is a step
  • Walk slowly and carefully: the floor is uneven
  • Mind your head: surfaces are sharp and crystals hang down from the ceiling
  • Do not touch any of the surfaces: gloves are available to offer protection should you fall
  • Do not climb or sit on any of the surfaces
  • In the unlikely event of an emergency please follow the instructions from YSP staff

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This looks fantastic. I can't wait for it to open
Janet Cheema on Roger Hiorns: Seizure | See all (17) comments
I've been so excited about this ever since I heard it was coming, can't wait to see it Ju Hayes on Roger Hiorns: Seizure
Agree with Janet. Sounds fab. Read about it in The Guardian. Paul Kirkwood on Roger Hiorns: Seizure
It should be 'copper sulphate solution', ie Cu SO4. 5 H2O dissolved in water. Not 'liquid copper sulphate' which is CuSO4 heated until melted. This is not a trivial distinction. Edward Akehurst on Roger Hiorns: Seizure
Can't wait either. Missed it in London and I'm ecstatic it opens just as I come back to visit Leeds Patrick O'Donnell on Roger Hiorns: Seizure
Really want to see this, so, YSP, please open all days, not just weekends/school hols Lindsay Rough on Roger Hiorns: Seizure
Amazing. I loved it. Sian Davies-Vollum on Roger Hiorns: Seizure
I visited YSP in July where I saw/experienced ‘Seizure’ for the first time. This is an extraordinary work – by any standards. A curious & completely compelling mix of chemistry & fairytale, at once magical & sinister, it evokes a strange laboratory crossed with something from the stories of the Brothers Grimm. Genuinely intense & compelling, its social narrative – which is perhaps something to do with living space (or a lack of it) – speaks to us (in its origin as a Peckham studio flat & its present manifestation as a kind enigmatic grotto) about the elemental meaning of a dwelling, as well as suggesting thoughts about ancient religious & devotional sites. I urge to go & see it. I shall certainly be returning. C. J. Allen on Roger Hiorns: Seizure
Worth the queue - it is amazing! Dr Emma Powell on Roger Hiorns: Seizure
Magical and thought provoking. Pictures don't do justice. Helen Brazier on Roger Hiorns: Seizure
The photos don't do it justice you have to see it to experience it. Jeff on Roger Hiorns: Seizure
Brilliant! Keith Hepworth on Roger Hiorns: Seizure
I want to know who lived in this flat Kathryn Littlewood on Roger Hiorns: Seizure
Beautiful and wonderful idea, its better in real life than the photo. somoses bibbis on Roger Hiorns: Seizure
Gosh it was shiny! Shibbis on Roger Hiorns: Seizure
Our company, Project Linings Ltd, applied the fibreglass lining system to the internal wall and floor surfaces of the flat, effectively creating what was to become a copper sulphate crystal tank. A great project in all respects, especially working with Roger Hiorns, and Artangel on Seizure. A Harrison on Roger Hiorns: Seizure
Amazing to see! It renewed my love of crystals. I prefer the crystals at home though Jack Boyes on Roger Hiorns: Seizure

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