'HK Marble (Absolute Black Zimbabwe)' is one of a series of pieces within Joanne Tatham and Tom O'Sullivan’s 'HK' project. The work is a 1:20 scale remaking of the first HK at Tramway, Glasgow (2001) where the words HEROIN KILLS were physically emblazoned across the gallery space, standing tall in six metre high black letters. Accompanying this first permutation of the artists' motif were a series of transcribed interviews conducted by the artists with people involved in heroin abuse, from ex-users to council workers. The project continued with the 'HK necklace', a hand cut 18-carat necklace spelling out their phrase, worn by an invited selection of art dealers, artists and curators at the 2003 Venice Biennale.
Adept at exploiting time, place and atmosphere Tatham and O'Sullivan's 'slogan' flickers between meaning and meaninglessness. It is at once a monument to the drug's countless Glaswegian victims, and a desirably cool emblem gracing the necks of artworld elite in Venice. 'HK Marble (Absolute Black Zimbabwe)' mutates the motif once more into an absurd 'edition' that mimics its original Tramway/Glasgow appearance. Its fabrication, from black marble, brings into focus the fetishism of such editions, and pre-empts the emptying out of meaning that this process can involve. Encountering HEROIN KILLS in stocky foot high letters, 'HK Marble (Absolute Black Zimbabwe)' may appear to say something direct and simple – however, on reflection it is actually saying something about the situation it is in and the conditions that have determined it.
- Artwork Details: 30 x 208 x 6cm
- Edition: 1 of 3
- Material description: granite (Absolute Black Zimbabwe)
- Credit line: © the artists
- Accession number: ACC1/2006