Friday, 14 March 2014


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.


Hiorns' transformation of a formerly domestic space into what could be described as a grand-scale petri dish is fascinating: it forces viewers to immerse themselves in a strangely tactile and fantastical world. In a similar way to Mark Rothko's large canvases describing nondescript doorways of colour lend their viewers an escape from their own consciousness, Hiorns' cobalt blue environment presents a suspension of reality, and the arresting colour with it's multifaceted surfaces means that there are a myriad of things viewers can see in the abstraction. Colour is immeasurably powerful, when we shut our eyes we do not escape it's hold, and indeed one of the effects of some drug usage is the increase of vividness in our minds.

under the microscope

Human fascination with the inexplicable is what draws me towards the world of science. The concept of perception is strong in my work: I like the ambiguity of abstraction, and of surprising new textures, mediums and processes. I aim to create a natural sense of intrigue in those who view my work, similar to the way people stare down microscopes at indescribably small particles, or through telescopes into infinite universe: it's about learning and viewing things we are yet to fully understand. In the 21st century, where we all have access to thousands of years worth of knowledge at the click of a button, I believe there is a purity in the unknown; the word itself is pregnant with possibility.

Recently, a company called Bevshots produced a series of photographs of alcohol samples under the microscope at the Florida State University's chemistry labs. The images are aesthetically beautiful and undoubtedly unrecognisable. The vivid colours are created by the various acids and sugars in the cocktails but they are thrown into abstraction by the magnification of the lens.