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Steel, thistles, coppersulphate, velcro Courtesy British Council  2002

The vegetation in Roger Hiorns’s Discipline has been subject to an unusual form of cultivation. The humble thistle has been transformed by the simple chemical procedure of crystallisation in a copper sulphate solution. This entropic process elevates the common weed to the status of exquisite specimen, brightly coloured and glistening. The focus of the traditional flower still life is preserved in paint by a virtuoso use of brush strokes and Hiorns’s technique similarly bestows a jewel-like quality. The thistles are harnessed to a formal arrangement of steel poles, their delicacy juxtaposed to the strength of the metal. Like some precious exotic plant the thistles seem to have taken refuge in the space of Hanbury’s Orangery.

Roger Hiorns

Born in Birmingham in 1975, Roger Hiorns makes works of art whose particular aesthetic lies somewhere between the representational and non-representational, and so disrupts our expectations of the boundaries between them. His sculptures have a seemingly straightforward, functional material presence, but this is always combined with an element which provides a sense of the imaginary, the poetic or the esoteric. The tension between these two aspects is a vital part of Hiorns' work. Recent shows include Art Now on the Sculpture Court at the Tate Britain and exhibitions at Marc Foxx, Los Angeles, and Corvi-Mora, London. He was the co-winner of the 2007 Jerwood – Artangel prize.