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Turner Prize nominee Roger Hiorns to bury Boeing plane in Birmingham next year

Artist will inter 737 jet by a canal in British city

by Gareth Harris  |  26 February 2016
Turner Prize nominee Roger Hiorns to bury Boeing plane in Birmingham next year
Roger Hiorns © CTK / Alamy Stock Photo
The UK artist Roger Hiorns says his plans to bury a decommissioned Boeing 737 jetliner in his hometown of Birmingham in the UK, is moving ahead, and should proceed next summer.  

The installation, Untitled (Buried Aircraft), will be realised in collaboration with Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, which is due to launch a survey of Hiorns’s work later this year (7 December-5 March 2017). A gallery statement says that the jet project, “one of the most ambitious works of art made in this country”, is planned for summer 2017, adding that the “temporary piece of public art will involve a Boeing 737 interred on the island bounded by Icknield Port Loop, part of Birmingham’s canal network.”

Ikon is planning a programme of events around Untitled (Buried Aircraft) in partnership with organisations such as the Canal & River Trust. The gallery has applied for funding from grant-giving agencies, trusts and foundations, and also hopes to secure corporate sponsorship and private donations. Birmingham City Council is a project partner.

“My motive in burying the plane is to introduce a new territory to the world, and to encourage the mind to be present in a new place, surreal and at odds with general accepted realities,” Hiorns says.

The Swiss artist Christoph Büchel is also planning to bury a plane. His proposed project Terminal, which involves burying a Boeing 727 in the California desert, has been in the works since 2000. In 2015, we reported that Büchel was granted a two-year extension for planning permission to bury it in the Mojave Desert.

Hiorns is due to present another off-site Ikon project this summer at St Philip’s Cathedral in Birmingham. For the piece Untitled (a retrospective view of the pathway), choristers will perform Choral Evensong lying down on their backs. Catherine Ogle, the Dean of Birmingham, will conduct the service during the event scheduled for 15 and 17 June.

Hiorns’ choir arrangement plays with ideas of life, death and consciousness. “You see the choir standing up, and it’s very formal, but if you make them lie down, it somehow contradicts and undermines the idea of a choir. There is also a hierarchy within a choir. You’ll be able to see a vulnerability to the singers,” he says, adding: “I am fascinated by putting a wedge between various established authorities; one of them is the church.”

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