An off-site project by Ikon Gallery will see the boy choristers of Birmingham Cathedral Choir singing Evensong lying down on the floor of the nave, rather than standing in the stalls. Untitled (a retrospective view of the pathway), is a site-specific work at Birmingham Cathedral on 15 and 17 June 2016. The work is by Birmingham-born Roger Hiorns, a Turner Prize-nominated artist and ex-Cathedral Chorister.
The event will be a full service, rather than a performance, led by the Dean of Birmingham, The Very Revd Catherine Ogle, with the choir directed by Canon Marcus Huxley, Director of Music. The Dean of Birmingham, The Very Revd Catherine Ogle, said: ‘We are pleased to be working with Roger Hiorns; an artist of vision, like Roger, enables us to see and experience things differently and to gain new insights into our ancient practices. I’m looking forward to a deep reflection on issues of spirit and corporality, life and death. The Christian church has a long tradition of engagement with the arts and we’re thrilled to be taking part in this first-ever artist curated Evensong.’
The arrangement of Hiorns’ choir - scattered within the body of the cathedral rather than the conventional placement of neat rows - plays on our tendency to read horizontality as a submission to gravity – in contrast to verticality as a sign of life, consciousness and volition. This concept is reaffirmed in Edward Burne-Jones’ stained glass windows at the western end of the Cathedral. Depicting the Last Judgment, the panes show Christian souls rising up from their graves on their way to the enjoyment of eternal life in heaven.
Hiorns, through his influential practice, consciously places the human back at the centre of art. Proposing new pathways into how artists can continue to make and behave, Hiorns focuses on various aspects of modern life - often through current affairs - closely analysing what is assumed or taken for granted.