Cornelia Parker: The artist who likes to blow things up


One of the show’s most fascinating pieces, Perpetual Cannon (2004), is a fusion of 30 silver coins and the first experimented metaphor in cold dark matter. Parker is an industrial press that is 25 times stronger than the steamroller used 15 years ago, and a forklift truck with 60 tuba, trumpet, coronet, giant Sousaphone, and a flat asteroid hanging lamp. .. “The crushed instrument was hung in a ring like a marching band. It means that the audience is between the shadow and the object, so I really like the instrument being in the shadow. I couldn’t. I tell you that the object is crushed by the shadows. It’s like a ghost band. The idea of ​​a perpetual cannon that lasts forever. It’s like these instruments were sucked in and not spit out. I’m in the space where I was arrested, breathing. “

She is attracted to the interaction of light and darkness. “I like the imagination of shadows. You become shadows. Light amplifies all instruments, which makes them more dissonant, so it seems to be getting visual amplification rather than auditory. It’s like expanding everything. “

“Expanding everything” is what Parker is best at. Her powerful intervention in the life of the object and her determination to squeeze meaning out of the props of her existence do not diminish the power of the object, but only strengthen it. By blowing the wind away from things, she paradoxically succeeds in essentializing that breath. And it’s a trick she can pull off with fresh talent to this day, creating a new installation for Tate’s show’s last work, the exhibition, Island (2022).

The mysteriously eclectic piece occupies its own gallery, whose windows consist of a greenhouse stained with chalk strokes from Dover’s White Cliffs (repeated material of her work). When strobed to the rhythm of her lungs, the light in the greenhouse is the floor of a structure made from abandoned tiles designed by Augustus Pugin for the 19th Century Parliament Building. You can get a glimpse of it intermittently. “It looks a bit like a floating carpet,” says Parker. “All the most powerful people in the world are roaming across them – Gladstone, everyone. It’s worn thinly by politicians. It looks like a greenhouse is floating above it.” According to Parker. The light pulsates very slowly, almost like breathing, so shadows fill the wall, like a hut or a perpetual cannon.

This piece is the final note for a show that Parker says “is solidifying something.” Not as aggressive as the crushed and exploding piece, Island is packed with poetic punches about the climate change of obsolete greenhouses and the fear of cultural isolation of whitewashed windows and coveted floors. I am doing it. Make what you do of breathing light.

Cornelia Parker will be in Tate Britain, London until October 16, 2022.

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