Roger Hiorns In Race To Bury Boeing Aircraft Before Swiss Rival

The Turner Prize nominated artist Roger Hiorns plans to bury a jumbo jet for a site-specific installation near Birmingham. Meanwhile the Swiss artist Christoph Büchel has a similar plan in progress. Great minds think alike, perhaps they should collaborate? No this is heading for the biggest aviation competition since the ‘Space Race’

Mr Hiorns decommissioned plane will be installed next summer, if all goes to plan. The work is to challenge our perceptions of how we “amplify the contemporary anxiety which the object holds over us”.

The project needs £250,000 and an application for a grant from Arts Council England has been filed. Mr Hiorns’ plans have been four years in the making. The jet burial will take place on an industrial wasteland site at Icknield Port Loop.  The canal-side installation will give access to visitors who will be able to go inside the aircraft and sit in the seats.

“I’m presenting a space that’s deeply familiar but filled with anxiety and increasing the level of anxiety by placing the compressed atmosphere of an aluminium shell underground,” he stated in an interview with a London newspaper.

It has recently come to light that another artist is working along similar lines. The Swiss artist Christoph Büchel’s is also looking for sponsorship for his site specific project, ‘Terminal’, which also involves burying a decommissioned Boeing airplane. Buchel is reportedly looking for $1.5 million for the project, which has been ongoing for over a decade in partnership with a number of art institutions.

The British artist Roger Hiorns, born 1975, uses unusual materials to effect surprising transformations on found objects and urban situations. Fire emerges from storm drains, perfume permeates metal surfaces, and copper sulphate crystals colonise industrial objects.

SEIZURE was Hiorns’ most ambitious work to date and his first major sculptural project within an urban site, and it marked a radical shift in scale and context in his work. The artist encouraged the growth of an unexpected crystal form within a low-rise late-modernist development near the Elephant & Castle in south London. 75,000 litres of copper sulphate solution were pumped into the council flat to create a strangely beautiful and somewhat menacing crystalline growth on the walls, floor, ceiling and bath of this abandoned dwelling.

Born in Basel, Switzerland in 1966, Christoph Büchel is recognized internationally for his conceptual projects and complex large-scale installations. Büchel often draws upon current events and politics, re-appropriating mass media sources and everyday life situations. His precise representations of reality seem to be more real than reality itself. Often the world he creates is fully functioning, and visitors forget that they are in an art installation, physically projected into other contexts and community settings that make up the contemporary world. These lifelike installations, which often also involve interaction and dialogue with specific communities, are often meticulous constructions that mirror the inner workings and hierarchies of advanced capitalist societies, contexts we pretend not to see or consciously refuse to acknowledge. His Mosque project at this year’s Venice Biennale was controversial to put it mildly. 

Top photo: by Roger Hiorns of Untitled (Buried passenger aircraft) 1999-2011

Middle Photo: Christoph Büchel Terminal 2000-2012 project for Mojave Desert, CAImage: TERMINAL, project Sketch (DC-9), 2000 © Christoph Büchel Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth