Luhring Augustine congratulates Roger Hiorns on his upcoming site-specific installation, A retrospective view of the pathway, at Navy Pier, Chicago's mission-driven cultural district. EXPO CHICAGO, The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art, in partnership with Navy Pier, will site the work as part of the exposition’s IN/SITU Outside program.

Roger Hiorns is a London-based artist who is invested in the constant questioning of the status of objects. Through the use of organic material such as foam or copper sulfate, which systematically grows sharp blue crystals, Hiorns explores shifting states of being in his sculptures and installations. These materials allow for generative growth outside the hand of the artist and for his objects to inhabit interstices between temporality and permanence.

Hiorns’ large-scale foam installation, A retrospective view of the pathway, 2008-17, at Navy Pier presents this idea of continuous change in a joyous and ebullient manner. Every day the foam machine creates giant foam clusters that are taken by the wind and spread across the landscape. In this way, the artist engages with the surroundings and blurs the lines between where the city begins and the art ends. Hiorns says, “I have to respond to my local environment of inner city pollution and a world of deeply contaminated ideas, so I make these acts of purification and cleansing. I want the foam to breathe a language of perfection over the environment, and this machine is the symbolically living body, to cross over to the world of breathing form from the simple and un-formable foam.”


The public is welcome to interact in this participatory installation, with the foam becoming the connective tissue between the individual and the artwork. The installation will operate Monday through Friday at noon, and Saturday/Sunday noon and 4 p.m. throughout the run of the exhibition. It will also operate for one night after the Vernissage of EXPO CHICAGO starting at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, September 13. 


A similar version of A retrospective view of the pathway is in the permanent collection of The Contemporary Austin, Texas for the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria.


Polk Bros Park, Navy Pier

600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, Illinois



Photo: Roger Hiorns, A retrospective view of the pathway, 2008-17, Foam, compressor, and stainless steel tanks, Dimensions variable. Installation view, Navy Pier, Chicago, IL