Contemporary art United Kingdom

Crystal flat on the move

Roger Hiorns's copper sulphate rooms, now part of the Arts Council Collection, head north

Seizure, 2008, Roger Hiorns

Roger Hiorns’s public art piece Seizure, which opened to critical acclaim in London in September 2008, is due to be shown at Yorkshire Sculpture Park next spring. For the major sculptural project, Hiorns transformed a derelict south London flat into a cavern coated in copper sulphate crystals.

The artist pumped more than 75,000 litres of copper sulphate solution into the flat to create a thick, shiny, jagged crystalline growth on its walls and floors. The fate of the piece, last seen in London in 2010, was for some time a mystery, with speculation that the building was due to be demolished. Hiorns subsequently donated the sculptural installation to the Arts Council Collection. Artangel, the non-profit public art agency which commissioned the work, supported the acquisition along with the Jerwood Charitable Foundation (through the Art Fund) and the Henry Moore Foundation.

Structure Workshop, a London-based structural engineering design practice, helped to take down the 31 tonne-installation in February last year. “We worked with a team to develop the strategy for removal. This included demolition of the end wall and the design of a skid [frame] onto which the piece was jacked before being craned onto a lorry in one piece. It was successfully transported to Yorkshire,” says a statement on the company’s website. The work, the subject of a ten-year loan agreement between the Arts Council Collection and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, has been renamed Untitled (Seizure).

A spokeswoman for Artangel previously said: “After the project opened, 157 Harper Road [the work’s location] became a site of pilgrimage. Every day, hundreds of people would make their way [to] this anonymous flat near the Elephant & Castle.”

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