SEIZURE: press coverageChemical & Engineering News, 5 January 2009
Time Out, 4 September 2008:
“In the middle of a two-storey, L-shaped block of boarded-up bedsits in the shadow of a large housing estate near the Old Kent Road, it’s draining day for artist Roger Hiorns. There’s still a week to go before his latest and largest installation, entitled ‘Seizure’, is unveiled to the public. Yet his team of assistants are busy round the clock and today are beginning to siphon out the 90,000 litres of bright blue, super-saturated copper-sulphate solution (enough to fill a large swimming pool) that for two-and-a-half weeks has been cooling in a metal tank lining the entire volume of one of the ground-floor bedsits. When all the liquid is emptied and the metal tank cut away, there should be a thick growth of copper sulphate crystals covering the walls, floor and ceiling, but at this stage even Hiorns isn’t entirely sure what, if anything, will be revealed.” (Helen Sumpter)
The Daily Telegraph, 3 September 2008:
“The contrast between the external setting - a condemned block of boarded-up flats - and the installation itself could hardly be more extreme. As you walk through the threshold of the encrusted flat, you suddenly find yourself in a space that bears no relation to the deprivation outside.
“Thick, juicy crystals coat the walls. Their jagged facets shimmer in the gloom, delighting the eye, and emanating many different kinds of blue.
“The effect is surreal. At first, I felt as though I had wandered into the murky side-chapel of a Byzantine cathedral, to be confronted by a glittering mosaic.
“Equally, I could have plummeted thousands of fathoms beneath the sea into Neptune's grotto, or sauntered into a nightclub with clusters of crystals forming wonky glitter balls. Alice tumbling down the rabbit-hole into Wonderland could hardly have felt more bemused or beguiled.” (Alastair Sooke - read full article)
The Guardian, 29 October 2008:
“Don't miss it. You'll feel as if you missed Rachel Whiteread's House or Jeremy Deller's Battle of Orgreave (both, incidentally, commissioned by Artangel). Like those ephemeral works, this is destined to be remembered as one of the truly worthwhile and significant moments of modern British art… Hiorns took over an abandoned flat in a derelict, unloved complex that speaks of emptiness and isolation and social betrayal. In this desolate space he sowed seeds of something new - he pumped it full of copper sulphate solution and waited until blue crystals grew over every surface - floors, walls, ceilings, a bathtub. The result is a mineral cavern inside a bereft flat, as if the inhabitant had magically created this beauty by force of will and dream. It invites you to make up a story about how this transformation occurred, to picture some strange life of tragedy and transcendence.” (Jonathan Jones - read full article)
Art Monthly, October 2008:
When I first heard about the project, I imagined a mesmerising, bejewelled den hidden behind the grim walls of a decaying block. If undoubtedly visually pleasing, Seizure is much rougher than the pretty fairy-like grotto I expected. The whole flat is coated in a thick layer of cobalt shards, glowing in the light of a few electric bulbs clumsily fixed to the ceiling. Water oozes down the walls like a toxic sweat and gathers in the cracks of the uneven floor in dirty little puddles. Nestled in a crystalline nook, the bath tub – a solitary remnant of past human occupation – is jagged with sharp excrescences. Seizure feels claustrophobic and disturbingly unsafe: the wellie-and-glove-equipped visitors are trapped in noxious caves. It looks as if nature, on a furious whim, had fought back the excruciating boredom of regimented societies.” (Coline Milliard)
The Sunday Times, 9 November 2008:
“What to make of it? To judge by the exclamations of my fellow crystal pilgrims, the principal response is simple wonder at the way something so perfect, so intense in its depth of colour, can transform a prosaic interior. It’s dark in there: just a couple of dim light bulbs to see by. The crystal growths are surprisingly big, pyramidal, sharply pointed, like a dream of Manhattan skyscrapers seen from above. They jostle each other, grow into and over each other. They could fill this space so it became a solid block of mineral. You imagine what it might be like to be trapped in there, the doorway grown over. You might somehow be slowly pulped by the advancing crystalline needles, until you were no more than an impurity at the heart of some massive rock formation. In the meantime, this small concrete, brick and plaster-board dwelling has become a bejewelled cave. And it is not actively frightening. The crystals cannot grow in air. You have time to get out.” (Hugh Pearman - read full article)
Chemical & Engineering News, 5 January 2009:
“The installation drew more than 25,000 people to a soon-to-be-demolished housing complex near London Bridge. Only four people could enter the apartment at one time, so visitors stood in line for hours in a concrete courtyard as they waited to pull on rubber boots and see the crystalline cavern.” (Bethany Halford)