Cornelia Parker was born in Cheshire in 1956. She studied at Wolverhampton Polytechnic and Reading University. Parker has exhibited widely both in Britain and internationally, with recent solo exhibitions and commissions including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2016; The Whitworth, Manchester, 2015; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 2014; Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, 2010; Galleria Civica D’Arte Moderna, Turin, 2001 and ICA Boston, 2000. In 1997 she was shortlisted for the Turner Prize. Parker lives and works in London.
Cornelia Parker (1956 – )
Cornelia Parker’s work is often concerned with formalising things beyond our control, making the volatile and making it into something contemplative. She is interested in processes of extreme destruction like steamrollering, shooting full of holes, falling from cliffs and explosions and her works transform ordinary objects into something compelling and extraordinary.
Parker is primarily a sculptor and installation artist and for one of her most famous works, Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View (1991), Parker asked the British Army to blow up a standard garden shed. She then collected and suspended the shattered wooden fragments around a light bulb, creating a tense installation, which captures some of the energy and force of the original explosion.
Parker began the ongoing series ‘Meteorite Landings’ in 1998, using actual meteorites. She heats up a Gibeon Meteorite, dating back to 1836, and then carefully places it on top of different geographical locations in an atlas – in this case, famous London landmarks from the ‘London A–Z’, such as Buckingham Palace or the Millennium Dome. The heat of the meteorite creates a charred hole in the map obliterating the original landmarks, literally erasing them from view. The holes echo the craters left on the earth’s surface by giant meteors that have fallen from space. In this way, the works can be seen as an apocalyptic reminder of the power of nature and how we are helpless to protect ourselves against it. “An alien object from space, the meteorite, embodies the fear of the unknown, fear of the future. In this sense this is an apocalyptic work for the end of the millennium.”