Cornelia Parker

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Cornelia Parker
Cornelia-Parker-010-1.jpg
Born 1956 (age 59–60)
Cheshire, England
Nationality British
Education Gloucestershire College of Art and Design
Wolverhampton Polytechnic
University of Reading
Known for Conceptual art, installation art, sculpture
Notable work Cold, Dark Matter: An Exploded View (1991)
The Maybe (1995)

Cornelia Ann Parker OBE, RA (born 1956) is an English sculptor and installation artist. Her wide-ranging practice 'touches on the fragility of human experience and is rich with visual and literary allusions. Exploring everything from gravity to the unconscious, she transforms everyday, ordinary objects into compelling works of art. Parker's projects - which have included blowing up a shed, steamrolling musical instruments and sending meteorites back into space - have captured the public imagination since she first came to prominence in 1999'[1]

Life and career[edit]

Parker studied at the Gloucestershire College of Art and Design (1974–75) and Wolverhampton Polytechnic (1975–78). She received her MFA from Reading University in 1982 and honorary doctorates from the University of Wolverhampton in 2000, the University of Birmingham (2005) and the University of Gloucestershire (2008). In 1997, Cornelia Parker was shortlisted for the Turner Prize along with Christine Borland, Angela Bulloch, and Gillian Wearing (who won the prize). Parker is married, has one daughter, and lives and works in London. Parker's mother is German and was a nurse in the Luftwaffe during the Second World War. Her British grandfather fought in the Battle of the Somme in the First World War.[2]

Work[edit]

The Distance (A Kiss With String Attached), 2003

Parker is best known for large-scale installations such as Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View (1991) – first shown at the Chisenhale Gallery in Bow, East London[3] – for which she had a garden shed blown up by the British Army and suspended the fragments as if suspending the explosion process in time. In the centre was a light which cast the shadows of the wood dramatically on the walls of the room.[4] This inspired an orchestral composition of the same name by Joo Yeon Sir.

In contrast, in 1997 at the Turner Prize exhibition, Parker exhibited Mass (Colder Darker Matter) (1997), suspending the charred remains of a church that had been struck by lightning in Texas. Eight years later, Parker made a companion piece "Anti-Mass" (2005), using charcoal from a black congregation church in Kentucky, which had been destroyed by arson.

Parker's compelling transformations of familiar, everyday objects investigate the nature of matter, test physical properties and play on private and public meaning and value. Using materials that have a history loaded with association, a feather from Sigmund Freud's pillow for example, Parker has employed numerous methods of exploration- suspending, exploding, crushing, stretching objects and even language through her titles.

The Maybe (1995) at the Serpentine Gallery, London, was a performance piece conceived by Tilda Swinton, who lay, apparently asleep, inside a vitrine. She asked Parker to collaborate with her on the project, and to create an installation in which she could sleep. Swinton's original idea was to lie in state as Snow White in a glass coffin, but through the collaboration with Cornelia the idea evolved into her appearing as herself and not as an actor posing as a fictional character. Parker filled the Serpentine with glass cases containing relics that belonged to famous historical figures, such as the pillow and blanket from Freud's couch, Mrs. Simpson's ice skates, Charles Dickens' quill pen and Queen Victoria's stocking.[5] A version of the piece was later re-performed in Rome (1996) and then MoMA, New York (2013) without Parker's involvement.

Parker has made other interventions involving historical artworks. For example, she wrapped Rodin's The Kiss sculpture in Tate Britain with a mile of string (2003).[6] as her contribution to the 2003 Tate Triennial Days Like These at Tate Britain . The intervention was titled The Distance (A Kiss With String Attached). She re-staged this intervention as part of her mid-career retrospective at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, in 2015. Subconscious of a Monument (2005) is composed of fragments of dry soil, which are suspended on wires from the gallery ceiling. These lumps are the now-desiccated clay which was removed from beneath the Leaning Tower of Pisa in order to prevent its collapse.[7]

Embryo Firearms, 1995. Colt 45 guns in the earliest stage of production

Avoided Object is the title of an ongoing series of smaller works which have been developed in liaison with various institutions, including the Royal Armouries, British Police Forces and Madame Tussauds. These “avoided” objects have often had their identities transformed by being burned, shot, squashed, stretched, drawn, exploded, cut, or simply dropped off cliffs. Cartoon deaths have long held a fascination for Parker: ‘Tom being run over by a steamroller or Jerry riddled with bullet holes. Sometimes the objects demise has been orchestrated, or it may have occurred accidentally or by natural causes. They might be “preempted” objects that have not yet achieved a fully formed identity, having been plucked prematurely from the production line like Embryo Firearms 1995. They may not even be classified as objects: things like cracks, creases, shadows, dust or dirt The Negative of Whispers 1997: Earplugs made with fluff gathered in the Whispering Gallery, St Paul's Cathedral). Or they might be those territories you want to avoid psychologically, such as the backs, underbellies or tarnished surfaces of things.’

Another example of this work is Pornographic Drawings (1997), using ink made by the artist who used solvent to dissolve (pornographic) video tape, confiscated by HM Customs and Excise.[8]

In 2008, a new exhibition by Parker opened at the Whitechapel Laboratory, Whitechapel Gallery in London. It featured a 40 minute film — Chomskian Abstract, 2007 — presenting her interview with the world-renowned writer and theorist Noam Chomsky, in her interview she asked him questions about a possible end of the world due to climate change. Exhibited alongside Chomskian Abstract, 2007, Parker’s Poison and Antidote Drawings, 2004 featured black ink containing snake venom and white ink containing anti venom.

In 2009, For the opening of Jupiter Artland, a sculpture park near Edinburgh, Cornelia created a firework display titled Nocturne: A Moon Landing containing a lunar meteorite. Therefore the moon landed on Jupiter. The following year Parker made Landscape with Gun and Tree for Jupiter Artland, a nine metre tall cast iron and Corten steel shotgun leaning against a tree. Inspired by the painting "Mr and Mrs Andrews" by Thomas Gainsborough where Mr Andrews poses with a gun slung over his arm. The shotgun used in the piece is a facsimile of the one owned by Robert Wilson, one of the founders of Jupiter Artland.

Folkestone Harbour Mermaid

For the Folkestone Triennial in 2011, Parker created a Folkestone version of one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, Copenhagen’s ‘Little Mermaid’. All women of Folkestone were offered the opportunity to model for the bronze sculpture. Through a process of open submission, Parker chose Georgina Baker, mother of two and Folkestone born and bred. Unlike the idealised Copenhagen version, this is a life-size, life-cast sculpture, celebrating the local and the everyday. Parker’s mermaid, a more confident and knowing lady of the sea than Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale one, is a permanent work for Folkestone.[9]

The top-left corner of Magna Carta (An Embroidery)

To celebrate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, Parker created Magna Carta (An Embroidery), a hand embroidered representation of the Wikipedia article Magna Carta as it was on 15 June 2014, completed in 2015.[10]

Whilst Magna Carta (An Embroidery) was on display at the British Library, Parker presented One More Time,[11] a Terrace Wires commission for St Pancras International Station, London, co-presented by HS1 Ltd. and the Royal Academy of Arts.

In 2016 Parker became the first female artist to be commissioned to create a new work for the Roof Garden of the Met in New York. Transitional Object (PsychoBarn)[12] is a scaled down replica of the house from the 1960 Hitchcock film “Psycho” and was constructed using a salvaged red barn.

Parker appeared in the BBC Four television series What Do Artists Do All Day?, a BBC Scotland production, first broadcast in 2013. In the programme she talks about her life and work.[citation needed] In May 2015, Cornelia Parker was featured in the Brilliant Ideas series broadcast by Bloomberg TV in which she reveals her inspirations, from gravity and ghosts to memory and the unconscious. She also discusses some of her best-loved works.[13] In summer 2016, BBC One broadcast "Danger! Cornelia Parker" as part of the TV series Imagine.[14] In autumn 2016 she featured in Gaga for Dada, a programme to mark the 100th anniversary of Dada, presented by Vic Reeves.[15] She also contributed to the BBC Four production Bricks! broadcast on 21 September 2016, marking the 40th anniversary of Carl Andre's sculpture Equivalent VIII, better known as 'The Tate Bricks'.

Exhibitions[edit]

Parker's work was included in the 16th Sydney Biennale (2008), the 8th Sharjah Biennial (2007),[16] the 4th Guangzhou Triennial, China (2012), 3rd Aichi Triennale, Japan (2013), Shenzhen Sculpture Biennial, China (2014), and the 10th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2014). She has had major solo shows at the Serpentine Gallery, London (1998),[17] Deitch Projects, New York (1998), ICA Boston (2000), the Galeria Civica de Arte Moderne in Turin (2001), the Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart (2004) the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas (2006), Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2007), Museo De Arte de Lima, Peru, (2008), Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK, (2010),[18] and Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, UK, 2015.[19] She is represented by Frith Street Gallery (London), Guy Bartschi (Geneva), and Galeria Carles Tache (Barcelona). Her work is in private collections worldwide, besides many public collections, including MoMA (New York), the Metropolitan Museum (New York), the Tate Gallery, the British Council, Henry Moore Foundation, De Young Museum (San Francisco), the Modern Museum (Fort Worth, TX), and the Yale Center for British Art.

Curatorial[edit]

In 2011 Cornelia Parker curated an exhibition titled Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain for the Collections Gallery at the Whitechapel Gallery in London using selected works from the Government Art Collection arranged as a colour spectrum.

For the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2014, Parker curated the Black and White Room which featured a number of well-known artists who she thought should be future Royal Academicians.

In 2016, as part of her Hogarth Fellowship at the Foundling Museum, Cornelia Parker curated a group exhibition titled FOUND [20] presenting works from over sixty artists from a range of creative disciplines, asked to respond to the theme of ‘found’, reflecting on the Museum’s heritage.

Recognition[edit]

In 2010 Parker was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts, London and appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours.[21] In 2000, 2005 and 2008 she received Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Wolverhampton, Birmingham, and Gloucestershire respectively.

Parker won the Artist of the Year[22] Apollo Award in 2016. Other shortlisted artists were Carmen Herrera, David Hockney, Ragnar Kjartansson, Jannis Kounellis and Helen Marten.

Politics[edit]

In politics, prior to the 2015 general election, she was one of several celebrities who endorsed the parliamentary candidacy of the Green Party's Caroline Lucas.[23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Blaswick, Iwona (2014). Cornelia Parker. Thames and Hudson. ISBN 9780500291092. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  2. ^ Adams, Tim (25 January 2015). 'Cornelia Parker: ‘I don’t want to tick anyone else’s boxes’'.
  3. ^ "Cornelia Parker: Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View, shown at Chisenhale Gallery, 18.9.91-27.10.91". 
  4. ^ "Cold Dark Matter:an Exploded View" Tate Gallery interactive site Retrieved March 20, 2006
  5. ^ http://www.teddyaward.tv/2009/popup/video.asp?OzIID=15815&ObjKatID=125&ThemaKatID=1060
  6. ^ Fenton, James (8 March 2003). "No strings attached". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  7. ^ Cornelia Parker: Subconscious Of A Monument, 21 September 2005 – 25 October 2005 Frith Street Gallery, London.
  8. ^ a b "Pornographic Drawings, 1997". artseensoho.com. Retrieved March 20, 2006. 
  9. ^ Cornelia Parker Folkestone Triennial 2011, 25 June – 25 September 2011.
  10. ^ Merrill, Jamie (14 May 2015). "Sculptor uses unveiling of Magna Carta artwork to attack Tory plans to scrap Human Rights Act". The Independent. 
  11. ^ Jury, Louise. "St Pancras goes on double time with new Cornelia Parker clock sculpture". Evening Standard. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  12. ^ Loos, Ted. "At the Met's Roof Garden, Raising a 'PsychoBarn'". New York Times. Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  13. ^ "Brilliant Ideas: Sculptor and Artist Cornelia Parker". Bloomberg. Retrieved 23 May 2015. 
  14. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07lswsg
  15. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07w6j9h
  16. ^ Parker, Cornelia. (12 February 2008). 'Apocalypse later', The Guardian. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
  17. ^ Preece, R.J. (1998). 'Cornelia Parker at Serpentine Gallery, London', World Sculpture News / artdesigncafe. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
  18. ^ 'Cornelia Parker - Doubtful Sound(2010), Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, England,
  19. ^ 'Cornelia Parker at Whitworth Art Gallery' Financial Times, February, 2015.
  20. ^ Higgins, Charlotte. "Found art: Cornelia Parker and Jarvis Cocker share their spoils". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  21. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59446. p. 12. 12 June 2010.
  22. ^ Stevens, Isabel. "Cornelia Parker". Apollo Magazine. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  23. ^ Elgot, Jessica (24 April 2015). "Celebrities sign statement of support for Caroline Lucas – but not the Greens". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 

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