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Artist Works in a Wild and Unique Manner

By: Jerry Wang

Famous artist Cornelia Parker creates different and immersive art through unconventional means such as exploding a shed to make fragments for her work. Parker has spent the last few decades working in London using her special techniques.

Much of her art consists of random objects floating, flattened, and lit. Parker's art is made from anything and everything and focuses on bringing new life to objects. Her most famous piece, ‘Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View,’ consists of twisted bike fragments, tools, toys, and other objects from a garden shed that Parker blew up in a field. These objects are illuminated by a lightbulb in the center of the piece, and seem to levitate (an effect accomplished by attaching filaments to the work). The result is an encapsulating, endless, explosion-like experience.

Parker has always made her art in unique ways. At a young age, she would leave coins on a railroad and watch as they were crushed and changed. She described the result as a more precious work of art compared to the coins they started as. The creative ways she let outside factors and forces change objects in seemingly random ways later became the technique that drove so many of her future pieces to success.

While it seems that her way of creating art came to her out of nowhere, the concepts don't fall far from typical artistic techniques. Art as a whole is destructive. From grinding crimson beetles to pulling purple mucus from living sea snails, just getting the pigments to create art is a task that requires the destruction of many things.

But artists aim to use these remains to create new, eye-catching works that fill cave walls, decorate the most famous halls of an art museum, and stand tall before hundreds of admirers. Parker states that creating art is "[m]agnifying everything" and giving a more intense meaning to objects.

Perhaps what makes Parker’s art so interesting is what gives it power: the concept of opposites. Parker always advocates for using opposites such as "[s]shadows and things that are shiny, the opposite of shadows." We see this contrast in ‘Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View,’ where the light in the middle of the floating objects casts shadows on the walls of the room. These shadows serve as the opposite or contrast to the flash of light from the explosion-like piece.

By using broad universal themes like contrast, destruction, and creation in creative and unconventional ways, most are left in awe by the power of the art despite not knowing what gives the art its meaning.

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