Cornelia Parker

For some years Cornelia Parker’s work has explored the process of formalising things that are out of our control, “containing the volatile and making it into something that is quiet and contemplative like the ‘eye of the storm’”. She is fascinated with a world that mimic cartoon ‘deaths’ including falling from cliffs, steamrollering, being shot full of holes, and explosions. Through  visual and verbal allusions her work activates cultural metaphors and associations, which causes the viewer to witness the transformation of the ordinary objects into something compelling, complex and extraordinary.

Information taken from:

What we were particularly interested in were her installation piece entitled “Thirty Pieces of Silver”. This installation included silver plates, spoons, and candlesticks to teapots, cigarette cases, and trombones which, through the process of flattening, they were transformed into the extraordinary. The pieces were arranged in thirty groups of around 33 to 46 parts and were suspended with copper wires from the ceiling lowered to reach 5 inches from the ground. All the objects are equally spaced to from an order and these objects become representations of past function. They have now been reformed to form a new purpose, free from their use and displayed now as visual pieces.

Parker comments on the installation: “I find the pieces of silver have much more potential when their meaning as everyday objects has been eroded. Thirty Pieces of Silver is about materiality and then about anti-matter. In the gallery the ruined objects are ghostly levitating just above the floor, waiting to be reassessed in the light of their transformation. The title, because of its biblical references, alludes to money, to betrayal, to death and resurrection: more simply it is a literal description of the piece.”

The use of threads and suspension resonated with Hazel, Ellie and I as her work in Thirty Pieces of Silver and in general, although seem somewhat chaotic they are all incredibly considered and retain some order. One criticism from our work last year was that our installation was too precious and ordered and we felt Parker has reached a perfect balance with her practice. Additionally, her inclusion of thread and objects similarly ties into our work with threads (and Mark Garry’s). Her consideration of object inhabiting a space was especially useful to my object work.


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