De Hallen Haarlem announces Roger Hiorns exhibition

. November 26, 2012

De Hallen Haarlem presents an exhibition on work by Roger Hiorns, on view 1 December 2012–24 February 2013.

Roger Hiorns, Untitled, 2011. Jet engine and youth. Courtesy the artist

His is an important and critical approach into man as a creature of activity. Hiorns addresses the way we cope with the things surrounding us. To what extent are we able really to know an object? How does our understanding of an object change when we know that a cow’s brain has been incorporated, and is thus perversely infused with some kind of knowledge and memory? Does a sculpture acquire new meaning when we know that a religious community prays to it from a distance? Hiorns connects substance and geist, the material and mystical, baseness and the sacred. His work does not present a comprehensive understanding, but begs the question whether our rationale is capable of fathoming the world.

For the monumental ground floor of the Vleeshal space, Hiorns has created (or rather, brought together) a large group of new objects—benches, tables, engines—elaborating on a recent piece: a simple metal bench on which a nude boy sits and watches a small fire. The nude boy ‘activates’, or animates, the lifeless sculptures by taking a seat on them. In these works Hiorns scrutinizes the relation between individual and object, and hybridizes performative actions and inert mundane materiality. In the Vleeshal’s upper floor, a selection of recent works will be presented, in which more ephemeral and imperceptible gestures are juxtaposed with the baroque aesthetics of crystallized motor blocks and the minimalist language of monochrome brain matter paintings.

Hiorns seems more concerned with creating confusion and emphasizing the ambiguity of our ritual engagement with objects. He uses the symbols of our technocratic present (high-tech synthetic materials, aircraft engines, antidepressants, money), but opposes it with something more fundamental and spiritual: sperm, fire, cows’ brains, the religious ritual. In this process aggression and eroticism are typically implicitly present. This is a body of work that is pulsating with a kind of silent transgression, offering glimpses of the sacral, and liberation from the straitjacket of reason.

In 2009, Hiorns’s work was shown in De Hallen Haarlem in the group exhibition The Knight’s Tour.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication with texts by Xander Karskens and Tom Morton, designed by Felix Weigand. The book is published by De Hallen Haarlem, and distributed by Idea Books. The publication will be presented during a book launch on 24 January, 2013.

The acquisition of two works by Roger Hiorns has been made possible by the generous financial support of Outset. Further thanks go out to Corvi-Mora, London, and Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam

De Hallen Haarlem
Grote Markt 16, Haarlem
The Netherlands

Category: Fine Art

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