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Artist Cornelia Parker: Known For Blowing Things Up



By: Ella Wang


Cornelia Parker’s artworks have always been rather violent; she uses explosives, steamrollers, and even snake venom to create some of her pieces.


As a child, she was forced to help her family with housework instead of having playtime like a normal child so oftentimes she would be interested in things a normal child wouldn't be. She was fascinated by passing trains crushing ordinary objects such as coins. This sparked her imagination and made her ask questions about the world.


Tate Britain, a British art gallery, stores nearly 100 of Parker's sculptures, installations, drawings, films, and photographs from over three decades of her life. Some works are small, but inspiring, and some are large, explosive artworks. Each and every one of them tells a story and has a deep meaning to it.


One of her most famous artworks, Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View, was created in 1991. She had persuaded the British Army to help her blow up a garden shed into pieces. The installation illuminates a single, bright lightbulb in the center of pieces of the shed including broken wood, parts of a bike, garden tools, paint pots, and toys.


Parker, who has an incredible liking for destroying things, said in an article from BBC while talking about her piece, that we're constantly bombarded with the imagery of the explosion, "from the violence of the comic strip [to] action films.”


Another well-known art piece Parker has created was The Distance (A Kiss with String Attached) in 2003. Parker used Auguste Rodin’s magnificent, The Kiss sculpture, and wrapped it in a mile of string.


"The Tate owns all my major works, so they just had to get them out of the old archive. I've got a piece where I wrap Rodin's The Kiss up in string. They own The Kiss, and they'll allow me to re-enact my work." Parker said in an article from BBC.


Re-creating an art piece fires up Parker’s imagination and her artistic mind, which may truly catch one’s eye when first viewing her artwork. From our perspective, we can intensely focus on the never-ending string strapping around two unbreakable lovers to create an image in our minds.


To destroy, blow up, and shatter things to create meaningful, breathtaking masterpieces, is frankly a one-of-a-kind talent. Cornelia Parker always strives to capture important details to make inspiring pieces of art.


Cornelia Parker said in an interview: “I feel life is very transient and very fearful, threatening. I want to be able to explore those feelings and let them come out, as if it’s a rite of passage.”



Sources: https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20220621-cornelia-parker-the-artist-who-likes-to-blow-things-up

https://news.artnet.com/art-world/artist-cornelia-parker-interview-tate-britain-2119076

https://www.musee-rodin.fr/en/musee/collections/oeuvres/kiss

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